Homophobic murderer gets life imprisonment in Hungary
The Regional Court of Appeal of Debrecen has today upheld an earlier decision of a lower level court, and sentenced a defendant to life imprisonment for murdering an elderly gay pharmacist out of homophobic motive. The case is the first known murder case in Hungary where the courts found homophobic hate an aggravating circumstance.
Sz.N., a 24 year old male committed the murder on August 25, 2012. The victim was an elderly male pharmacist whom he got to know via personal advertisements. Sz.N. went to the meeting prepared to kill the victim, he took a pocket-knife and an extra set of clothes to change into. Soon after arriving to the victim’s apartment he killed the victim with 20 stabs, including one in the eye.
The police apprehended the defendant within 48 hours. He talked openly to the police about his motivation: he had been seeing a spread of gay personal advertisements in the media, and decided to “kill them all one by one”. He also shared with the police his sympathies for Hitler, his slight dislike of Jews and his detest for Gypsies and “faggots”.
A first instance court decision was delivered on October 18, 2013: the victim was convicted for homicide with a base motive, planned in advance, committed with special cruelty; the defendant received life imprisonment. In its decision delivered on February 10, 2014, Regional Court of Appeal of Debrecen upheld the decision of the lower level court. The decision is binding.
Research by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Háttér Society shows that verbal and physical assaults against LGBT people in Hungary are quite common, 16% of the 1674 participants to a survey among LGBT people in 2010 reported becoming victims of such incidents. Hungarian criminal law prescribes higher sanctions for several crimes including assault, coercion and murder if committed with a bias motive based on - among others - sexual orientation or gender identity, but the provisions are hardly ever enforced. The current case is the first known case where the authorities did enforce the legislation in case of a murder, and found homophobic hate an aggravating circumstance.