#NOEXTRADITION – Campaign from „We are all Linx“

Campaign against the extradition of antifascists

Several anti-fascists are currently facing extradition to Hungary. Hungary is a country that has been harshly criticised by human rights organisations for years and has repeatedly been reprimanded for its politically biased justice system. We want to prevent this with the campaign „#NOEXTRADITION – No extradition of anti-fascists„.

The impending extraditions are the result of investigations into several anti-fascists accused of being involved in clashes with neo-Nazis in Budapest in February 2023. The allegations are related to the so-called „Day of Honour“, a major international gathering of neo-Nazis taking place in the city every year. The event is a historically revisionist commemoration of an attempted escape by SS troops and Wehrmacht soldiers shortly before the Red Army liberated Budapest.

In December 2023, Maja was arrested in context of this investigation because of alleged involvement and is currently in pre-trial detention. Following an application for extradition by the Hungarian judicial authorities, proceedings were initiated at the Berlin Court of Appeal and a decision on this is due in the coming weeks. At the same time, Gabriele is in house arrest in Milan awaiting a decision on his extradition as well. Meanwhile, the authorities are searching for at least twelve other young people who could also face extradition to Hungary.

Not a fair trial

Even the EU Parliament no longer regards Hungary as a fully-fledged democracy, but as an „electoral autocracy“ that systematically and deliberately undermines its agreed fundamental values, massively restricts freedom of expression and the press, eliminates democratic control bodies and criminalises political opponents. In 2022, the EU froze payments worth billions to Hungary because the country failed to comply with agreed law reforms. Many MEPs are calling for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to be stripped of his voting rights in the Council because Hungary does not fulfil European standards in terms of the independence of its judicial system, despite recent reforms.

Both Amnesty International and the European Court of Human Rights have criticised the increasing restriction of judicial independence in Hungary. Viktor Orbán’s right-wing populist government has repeatedly intimidated unpopular judges and public prosecutors with disciplinary measures and suspensions. One example of the country’s political one-sidedness is the pardoning of a convicted right-wing terrorist by the Hungarian president last year. Even the organisers of the neo-Nazi „Day of Honour“ event are financially supported by the government through tourism promotion funds.

Reporters Without Borders also criticise the media landscape being under government control. Following the enactment of a new media law in 2010, large parts of the television and radio landscape were centralised. A government-appointed media authority was created shortly afterwards and makes it possible to control and penalise the media. As a result, critical and investigative journalism is virtually non-existent in Hungary and the major daily newspapers and television stations merely repeat state narratives. Hence, reporting is right-wing and conservative due to strong state control and a lack of independence.

In conclusion, we must assume that the anti-fascists concerned cannot expect an independent and fair trial in the event of extradition.

Excessive sentences and inhumane prison conditions

Two anti-fascists were already imprisoned in Budapest in February 2023 as a result of the same investigation. Now they are to be tried in Hungary starting at the end of January 2024. In the case of the imprisoned Italian anti-fascist Ilaria, the public prosecutor’s office is currently demanding a prison sentence of up to 16 years. If Maja or other anti-fascists are extradited, they face a sentence of up to 24 years in prison and pre-trial detention, which can be extended almost indefinitely. The expected prison sentences are therefore many times higher than they would be in Germany, and under inhumane conditions. Human rights organisations such as the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights continue to draw attention to the catastrophic conditions in Hungarian prisons.

The anti-fascist Ilaria, who is already in pre-trial detention in Hungary, has been reporting inhumane conditions and harassment. For the first six months, Ilaria was only allowed to communicate with her lawyer and had no contact with relatives. In an 18-page letter, she reports being locked up for 23 hours in a cell measuring just three and a half square metres, interrogations without a defence lawyer or interpreter, malnutrition and catastrophic hygiene conditions. In addition to inadequate ventilation in summer and freezing temperatures in winter, the cells are infested with mice, cockroaches and bed bugs.

If extradition is granted, Maja, Gabriele and all others affected could face a double-digit prison sentence in inhumane conditions and pre-trial detention over 1 000 kilometres away from family and friends.

Prejudgement against the accused

From the outset, the Hungarian authorities‘ investigation into the events was accompanied by biased media coverage, which portrayed the participants of the „Day of Honour“ as mere tourists and the accused anti-fascists as brutal perpetrators of violence.

While in Italy the case of the imprisoned anti-fascist Ilaria has been reported on in a critical manner, in Germany the one-sided reporting of the Hungarian media on the trial complex has so far not been questioned and in some cases has been adopted word for word.

In addition to the adoption of right-wing narratives, the accused were also subjected to constant prejudgement. Representatives of the German security authorities repeatedly emphasised the supposed dangerous nature of the young anti-fascists in interviews.

All of this is happening at a time when fascists are gaining ground across Europe, while a fascist party could soon re-enter parliament with a majority in Germany and is organising with well-connected neo-Nazis to plan the deportation of large parts of the population. We have a duty to always remember the importance of anti-fascism in our society. Criminalising anti-fascists in this way against the backdrop of a growing new right, whose content is becoming increasingly more acceptable, obscures the real threat to society.

We demand:

A clear rejection of the extradition of the accused to Hungary – whether from Germany or Italy!

The immediate return of those detained there to their home countries!

The chance of a fair trial for all those affected!

Wir sind alle LinX

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