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Hungary drafting new, tougher drug laws

The Justice Ministry is drafting a new penal code that will tighten punitive measures against drug abusers, a senior ministry official told Népszabadság.

State Secretary Róbert Répássy said the bill was scheduled to be approved by parliament in spring 2012 and take effect as soon as summer 2013. Drug abusers will be given a single chance for rehabilitation, and repeat offenders will automatically receive a prison sentence, he said.

The provision that drug dealers be judged more leniently if they are abusers themselves will be scrapped, he added. Répássy said the new code started from the principle that the punishment should be proportionate to the crime.

He said it would focus on the crime itself, allowing judges narrower scope for taking into consideration mitigating or aggravating circumstances.