Strasbourg court found that Hungary has violated freedom of expression

The Strasbourg court found on Tuesday (26 May) that Hungary has violated freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights when parliamentary speaker and Fidesz MP László Kövér indefinitely banned a number of journalists from the parliament building in 2016.

Later that day (26 May), the press office of the legislative branch said that “the judgement does not contain an obligation to review the current rules relating to the press procedures,” local media reported.

While the Court agreed with the Hungarian government’s arguments on several points, it found that limitation on the freedom of expression had not been proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued because it had not been accompanied by adequate procedural safeguards.

The interference had thus not been “necessary in a democratic society” and there had been a violation of Article 10. The Court also noted that the changes introduced to press rules a year later in 2017 put in place procedural safeguards.

In a separate case, the Strasbourg Court found that Hungary had not violated the Convention when extraditing in 2012 an Azerbaijani soldier convicted of killing with an axe an Armenian counterpart during a NATO-sponsored training exercise in Budapest. The soldier, sentenced to life in Hungary, was extradited to Baku where he was pardoned upon arrival, promoted on national television and granted a flat.

The court found that there was no justification for the Azerbaijani authorities’ failure to enforce the punishment and to grant him impunity for a serious hate crime.

(Vlagyiszlav Makszimov | EURACTIV.com)

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