Homophobic attacker at Budapest Pride gets three years' imprisonment
For the first time since its introduction in 2008 a Hungarian court used the new hate crime provision for homophobic violence in a case concerning the assault of a participant of the Budapest Pride March in 2013.
The victim was walking home from the Budapest Pride March on July 6, 2013, when he met a larger group of anti-gay protesters shouting “Dirty faggots! Dirty faggots!” A woman in her thirties left the larger group, walked up to the man, tore of his rainbow badge and hit him. The victim suffered no injury. The TV crew of an online newspaper recorded the whole incident on video.
The victim reported the incident to the police with the help of Háttér Society’s legal aid service. Since the woman was a well-known extreme right wing activist, it was easy for the police to identify her based on the video footage.
The Central District Court of Pest delivered its decision on April 29, 2015 finding the victim guilty of violence against a member of a community for the incident at the Budapest Pride and incitement to violence for posting pictures of Roma children online with a call to kill them all before they grow up to be criminals. The defendant received three years' imprisonment, and will also have to serve eight more months for a crime committed earlier. The decision is not yet biding, both the defendant and the prosecutor appealed the decision.
Pride Marches have been held in Hungary since 1997. In the first decade they were peaceful with minimum police protection. Since 2007 extreme right-wing protesters regularly try to disrupt the March verbally and physically assaulting the participants going to or leaving the premises.
In 2008 the Parliament amended the existing hate crime legislation to include protection for “any group of society”, which - theoretically - was to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Several investigations were started, but none of them were prosecuted. This changed in 2013 when a new Criminal Code with a hate crime provision specifically referring to sexual orientation and gender identity was adopted: since then several cases were brought to court, the first court decision being delivered yesterday.