Let me start with the case involving a Fidesz member of parliament, József Balázs, and Oszkár Juhász, the newly elected Jobbik mayor of Gyöngyöspata. A few days before the elections, Balázs phoned Juhász and threatened the future mayor that Gyöngyöspata will not receive any money from the central government in case Juhász wins the elections because "in this region only those people will receive money whom I approve."
First, Balázs denied that any such conversation had taken place, but on July 19th Jobbik released a tape recording of the telephone conversation. Apparently Fidesz politicians began threatening and trying to blackmail Juhász already in March. So Juhász "in defense" taped conversations with Balázs.
After the release of the tape LMP stood by Jobbik and demanded Balázs's resignation from his post as a member of parliament, a demand that was unlikely to be met. In fact, Gergely Gulyás, who was the spokesman for the party on that day, announced that it is "not words that matter but deeds." Thus, the party dismissed the whole affair as immaterial. Some commentator jokingly retorted that in this case Ferenc Gyurcsány's words at Balatonőszöd shouldn't have mattered at all.
Oszkár Juhász decided to ask the police to investigate the case. That was on July 21. On August 3 the Central Investigating Prosecutor's Office that specializes in political cases announced that further investigation was unnecessary. According to its spokesman, the Prosecutor's Office decided that the case had no standing because no crime had been committed. They looked at the possible criminal act of "compulsion" and/or "fiduciary responsibility," but neither was applicable. As for the charge of "compulsion," it is applicable only if "someone compels someone else by physical force or threat to do or not to do something." But in this case there was no such demand. As for "fiduciary responsibility," if indeed József Balázs was the man on the phone one must investigate whether he can be considered an official or not. He as a member of the regional development authority that dispenses grants cannot be considered an official. As far as being a member of parliament, the prosecutors had to investigate whether the telephone conversation occurred in an official capacity or not. It didn't.
All in all, only general communication took place between Balázs and Juhász, claimed the Prosecutor's Office. Moreover, the spokesman added, "the suspicion of a crime must also be excluded because the reference was made only to the future during the course of the conversation." If that were the case, then we could all threaten people with impunity because the threat could be executed only in the future.
I realize that in most cases the law, at least in the U.S., doesn't prosecute threats. If a husband threatens to murder his wife, the best she can hope for is a restraining order. The husband can be prosecuted only if he actually succeeds in carrying out his threat. Blackmail is a notable exception, although this requires an explicit demand: pay me $X or I'll reveal Y about you or a member of your family–or withdraw from the election (or somehow throw it) or your town will suffer financially. Presumably the Prosecutor's Office decided that there was no explicit demand, only a threat. To my mind, at best a borderline call.
The second prosecutorial decision worthy of mention concerns the case of those Tibetans who were planning to demonstrate peacefully during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. In accordance with the law they announced the time and place of their planned demonstration to the police. At the appointed hour the Tibetans were ordered to appear at the Office of Immigration and Citizenship with their papers proving that their presence in the Hungarian capital was legal. They were kept there for hours to prevent them from staging a demonstration.
Ombudsman Máté Szabó learned about the case from the newspapers and immediately began an investigation of the incident. He suspected that a violation of the right of assembly might be involved here. That was on June 27. More than a month later, on August 4, Szabó indeed came to the conclusion that the human rights of the Tibetans had been violated. Moreover, the police hindered their right of assembly. On the very same day the Office of the Chief Prosecutor (headed by Péter Polt, a Fidesz appointee) announced that they saw no reason for any official investigation of the case. The reason given to MTI, the Hungarian News Agency, was that "in the opinion of the Prosecutor's Office one cannot discern from the report of Ombudsman Máté Szabó that during the police action against the Tibetan demonstrators any illegal action took place. Therefore there is no reason for any investigation."
In both of these cases the Prosecutor's Office decided to step back based on a narrow reading of the law that circumvented principles of human rights and political ethics. In a firmly established democracy such parsing comes with the territory, however annoying it can often be. In a young democracy it can begin to tear at the very fabric of hard won political freedom.
Well, these are only two recent cases, but there are several other decisions that are questionable. It can happen, as it actually did, that victims become the accused thanks to the "good offices" of a highly structured and hierarchy-driven prosecutorial system in Hungary. The chief prosecutor is a Fidesz partisan who has a very important function to fulfill: punish political enemies and defend Fidesz politicians in case they are in trouble. This is a open secret. Opposition politicians accuse the Office of the Prosecutor of being an arm of Fidesz. Moreover, the chief prosecutor's tenure can, thanks to the limitless power of the government, last for a lifetime. Thus, it is very possible that Péter Polt will remain chief prosecutor for decades. And therefore the prosecutor's office will always serve Fidesz even if the party is no longer in power. A pretty dreadful situation.