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Communist-era minister charged with downplaying regime’s crimes

Former Hungarian interior minister Béla Biszku has been charged with downplaying crimes made by the communist regime following the 1956 uprising.

Biszku, who will turn 90 in September, was charged Thursday by prosecutors for comments he made while appearing on state television on August 4, 2010. According to the Press’ article, citing Gabriella Skoda of the Budapest Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Biszku stated that he had nothing to apologize for. Additionally, stating that “I consider 1956 to have been a national tragedy of which I was victim.”

In February of last year, Hungarian lawmakers endorsed a punishment of up to three years in prison for publicly denying, questioning or reducing the Holocaust. The law was later amended in June to refer strictly to crimes against humanity committed by the communist and Nazi regimes. Though Biszku has denied direct involvement in the repression and executions following the Soviet invasion on November 4, 1956, historians say there is sufficient documentation proving he had a principal role. (WD)