Hungarian President Katalin Novák pardoned those convicted in the case known as the Hunnia trial for their role in a number of bomb attacks against left-wing parties. The Sándor Palace explained the decision by saying that Pope Francis’ visit was a special occasion and that the head of state wished to make use of her pardoning powers.
“The week of the pope’s visit is a special occasion for the head of state to exercise her pardon powers. The president of the republic has therefore decided to grant a wide range of pardons on this occasion,” the President’s Office wrote in a statement.
In the period 2007-2009, the participants in the Hunnia trial carried out Molotov cocktail or bomb attacks at the offices of the then governing parties, the Socialist MSZP and the liberal SZDSZ, and at the homes of politicians. The group also targeted gay clubs.
“Happy is the country, which has terrorists such as them,” said lawyer István Szikinger during the 2016 trial of the men involved in the right-wing group.
The central figure of the “Arrows of the Hungarians” movement, György Budaházy was sentenced to 17 years in prison without the possibility of parole in 2016, with the sentence reduced to six years this March.
“Thank you very much, Madam President, for finally relieving me of this burden. Your decision cannot be separated from the many people who stood by us. My thanks go to the members of the Budaházy Committee for Justice, to all the public figures, to everyone who stood up for us, to all the Hungarians who did anything for us, who gave their support, who prayed, who signed the petition for our release. Without them, we would not have succeeded,” Budaházy told news portal Pesti Srácok while commenting on the news.
Budaházy celebrated his release in the midst of his followers while riding on horseback.