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NEWS

Short Update: COVID-19 emergency law in Hungary gives indefinite ruling power to government and criminalises criticism

FairTrialsAdmin - April 7, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, New criminal offences

In response to the COVID-19 crisis on 30 March 2020 the Hungarian Parliament passed an emergency bill authorising the government the power to indefinitely rule by decree. According to the The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Hungarian Parliament will practically be dormant from now on: laws will essentially be made by the government.  

The law also introduces two new criminal offences:

1- Anyone who publicizes false or distorted facts that either interfere with the “successful protection” of the public or that alarm or agitate the public, could be punished by up to five years in prison. The vague wording poses danger that any criticism to measures taken by the Hungarian government could fall under this definition.

2- Anyone who interferes with the operation of a quarantine or isolation order could also face a prison sentence of up to five years, a punishment that increases to eight years if anyone dies as a result.  

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected] 

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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