Prison conditions

Italian comrade

Update July 2023:

We write this brief update about the situation of the arrests in Budapest, in particular of the Italian comrade currently detained. For further information on the context, we refer to the previous text which has already been published. To date, both the German and the Italian comrade, arrested in February 2023, remain in prison in the city of Budapest. With the time and lots of difficulties, by exchanging with the Hungarian defense team, we can now get to a picture of the current situation, which differs in some parts from the previous information. Currently, in fact, the Italian comrade is the only one detained for the alleged participation in the episodes in which some Nazi militants were injured. The episodes, all occurred in the days preceding the „Day of Honor“ in Budapest, would be five; Of these, the investigators aim to prove that the comrade may have taken part in two of them, excluding the first for which she had been accused and had presented the plane tickets that proved her absence on Hungarian territory. The German comrade would not, now, be detained directly for the attacks of those days, but for his alleged participation in an international criminal association which existence the investigators aim to prove. The charges are therefore quite different, with obviously very different penalties if they are found guilty by the Hungarian justice. In both cases the investigations are still ongoing, but we know that the terms of pre-trial detention for the Italian companion are 4 years. The final penalty in case of conviction will instead range from 2 to 12 years in prison. To sum up, the Italian comrade is the only one detained with the accuses of violence and the timing of pre-trial detention can still be very long.

As already said, her detentions conditions, after an initial difficult period, have improved. She periodically receives packages through the embassy with roughly everything she requires, relations with her cell inmates are very good and she has a mobile phone with which she can contact her Hungarian lawyers and the embassy whenever she wishes. Unfortunately, interviews with family and friends and consequently any type of communication and correspondence are still forbidden due to a phantom risk of suppression of evidence. Both the lawyers and the embassy are trying to unblock this situation but no one knows if or when it will be possible to have more direct contact with her. Through the same lawyers we are constantly updated on her psychophysical state, which is good so far, and on the evolution of the court case.

Over the next few months, an application for home detention on Italian soil will be filed, although it is unlikely to be accepted by the local authorities since, given the accusation, it is in their interest to avoid the risk that she leaves the Hungarian territory. At the same time, on June 14th, the detention was extended until August 14th, the date on which the lawyers assume that it will be further renewed, considering the indirect evidence collected so far by the police. Moreover, in August, the result of an anthropometric test, requested by the prosecution, will be filed. It is important to understand that given the delicate judicial situation the detention can still be very long and therefore the judicial costs and those of daily life maintenance in the prison of the comrade are and will be enormous. For this reason, we ask everyone to support the solidarity fund opened for the occasion, with any type of donation, benefit or initiative aimed at helping her in this difficult and long situation.

Update May 2023:

Detention in Hungary provides for the possibility of receiving letters, telegrams, money, food or clothing, only from people directly registered and authorized for meetings. That is why throughout the first month of detention the Italian comrade did not receive even the basic necessities package and had to make it with the clothes she was wearing (the same happened to the German comrade). She initially received authorization to communicate with her parents and her Italian trusted lawyer, but this authorization was revoked soon after the first phone calls. Since then, she has a phone in her cell but is not authorized to communicate with anyone other than her Hungarian lawyer and the Italian embassy liaison officer. An initial appeal against this decision was rejected, so it is very likely that in the coming months her detention will continue without the possibility of meetings and contact with the outside world, except mediated by the local lawyer. Similarly, we out here, deprived of direct channels with her, must also rely on indirectly reported information, with all the difficulties this entails in building solidarity. In any case, she seems to be doing well and, despite the difficulties of the first months of detention, the situation now appears to have improved. The first package has been delivered, and the detention conditions have become less difficult since she is no longer isolated and shares her cell-no longer infested with bedbugs-in the company of a detainee with whom she has a good relationship. These changes led to her decision not to publicly raise the case of her detention situation in the local media, as her lawyer had initially suggested to do.

As far as the Media attention to the case is concerned, the Hungarian media initially treated the news of the arrests with some fanfare, but as the weeks passed the attention waned and the case seems at present to be following ordinary procedures, however slow and arbitrary they may appear. The very slow delivery of the basic necessities package and the poor sanitary conditions of the cells are not to be considered the result of a personalized obstinacy, but rather normal administration of Hungarian prisons. The investigation still remains open, however, and we have reports of an interrogation without lawyers, to which they both refused to answer.