Political showdowns begin after Hungarian EU Presidency?

Last Friday evening – only several hours after the former director general of the National Security Office (in Hungarian: Nemzetbiztonsági Hivatal; commonly referred to as NBH), Mr. Lajos Galambos had been placed under house arrest – a domiciliary visit was made to the home of Mr. György Szilvásy, former member of Ferenc Gyurcsány’s second government; serving first as cabinet minister leading the Prime Minister’s Office, then (from July 2007 until April 2009) as minister supervising civilian secret services. Mr. Szilvásy was transferred to the Military Prosecution Office late at night where he was interrogated as a suspect. Former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány made an announcement on the internet – based on information from family members – that Szilvásy was charged with ‘endangering the state’ (probably with espionage). The next target (arrested on Saturday) was Mr. Sándor Laborc, formerly appointed by Mr. Szilvásy to lead the NBH in 2007 (despite harsh criticism from the Liberal Democrats and the then–opposition Fidesz party because Mr. Laborc had attended a KGB school before the transition) for a successor to Mr. Galambos, who resigned only a couple of months earlier (probably because of the case that involved the so–called “Együtt egymásért Alapítvány” [literally: ‘Together for Each Other’ Foundation]). As of now, only a few people might know exactly why a criminal procedure has been initiated against the last two leaders of the NBH and former secret services minister, Mr. György Szilvásy. Some people from the Ministry of Interior who are familiar with the matter told the daily Népszabadság that the so–called National Defense Service (in Hungarian: Nemzeti Védelmi Szolgálat; NVSZ), established this January 2011, may stand in the background, given that the Military Prosecution Office initiated the procedure based on accusation from the NVSZ. However, that information was not confirmed publicly by the Ministry. What is more, the Ministry’s reaction was that “we would not disclose anything even if we knew something”. The daily newspaper’s sources denied, however, that the current procedure is linked to those earlier cases that had already been reported by the media in any way. According to leaked information, the former secret services leaders are accused of espionage. Ms. Ágnes Vadai, Socialist MP and chairwoman of the Parliament’s National Security Committee announced in a press conference on Sunday that she had summoned an extraordinary session for Monday. In the chairwoman’s opinion, it was ‘unbelievable and absurd’ that the Military Prosecution Office had arrested a number of people during the previous days on the charges of ‘endangering the state’ who were primarily responsible for the discovery of such criminal acts. Ms. Vadai stated that the National Security Committee had not only the right but also the obligation to become acquainted with every case in point, and that is the reason why a closed session had been summoned for Monday to question the interior minister, Mr. Sándor Pintér, the director general of the National Defense Service (NVSZ), Mr. Zoltán Bolcsik, the Military Prosecutor General, Mr. Árpád Kovács as well as all the other prosecutors involved in the procedure.
Not even the closed session of the National Security Committee on Monday morning shed light on any new detail concerning the case. The vice chairman of the committee – who is a Fidesz MP – divulged only that the relevant files have been classified until 2089. Socialist MP and chairwoman of the committee Ms. Ágnes Vadai said after the almost 45-minute-long session that the statements made by current secret services heads were far-fetched and unrealistic, adding that she did not receive a real answer from the respondents to any of the more important questions. Ms. Vadai claimed that there was a strong need for more information as well as additional sessions in order to determine the seriousness of the case. The chairwoman also emphasized that she had grave doubts whether the three arrests were ordered solely on professional grounds.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11