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Curia upholds ruling against Fidesz in NGO case

Fidesz has failed in its effort to have a June 2016 court ruling in favor of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee reversed by the Supreme Court (Curia), which upheld the order for Fidesz to make a public apology and pay HUF 1 million in damages to the NGO for injury to its reputation, news portal index.hu reported Tuesday.

"Freedom of speech embraces only the freedom to express a judgement, characterization, point of view or criticism, but constitutional protection cannot extend to the falsification of facts," the Facebook page of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee quoted the Curia as saying in its ruling.

The organization sued Fidesz after the party claimed in a 2015 statement: "Fake civil organization the Helsinki Committee, carrying out the political orders of international speculative financial capital, is attempting in a brazen fashion to falsify black and white data. Contrary to its lies, the fact is that in 2014 four-fifths of asylum seekers, or some 35,000 people, did not arrive in Hungary from war zones, and so were economic immigrants.”

The binding ruling also calls on Fidesz to refrain from making further similar legal infringements, notes index.hu, adding that the party already transferred the amount of damages last year, which the NGO has said it will use to provide legal aid to asylum seekers.