War crimes charges levied against former Communist official

In Hungary

Former minister of the interior Béla Biszku, 92, has been formally accused for his actions in suppressing the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. “The Budapest Prosecutor's Office has today submitted to the Budapest Court of Justice an indictment in the criminal proceedings launched against Béla Biszku for war crimes and other crimes,” ran the official statement in part.

Biszu had been detained by police in September 2012 on 11 charges of possession of illegal ammunition and now faces a sentence of life imprisonment. Prosecution for war crimes nearly 60 years in the past was not possible in Hungary until a 2011 law created and passed by the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition reversed a statute of limitations on such charges.

Biszku has been formally charged for abetting the shooting and killing of 46 people in Salgótarján on December 8, 1956. Early the following year, Biszku was named to the Socialist Workers Party’s executive committee and as minister of the interior, allegedly ordered dozens of house searches in March 1957. Biszku served in the post until 1961.

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