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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Prosecutors probe Hungary lawmaker's racist speech

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Prosecutors said Wednesday they are investigating whether remarks made in Parliament by a far right lawmaker are anti-Semitic.
Geza Fazekas, spokesman for the Central Investigative Prosecutor's Office, said that a speech by Zsolt Barath of the far-right Jobbik party is being examined because of a complaint by Rabbi Slomo Koves, who considered that the April 3 remarks agitated against Hungary's Jewish community.
Barath commemorated the "Tiszaeszlar case," the 1882 disappearance of Eszter Solymosi, a 14-year-old peasant girl which for decades stoked anti-Semitic feelings in Hungary. Her body was never found and several Jews accused of her murder were acquitted in 1884.
If prosecutors think there are grounds for investigating Barath for incitement against a community they can ask for his parliamentary immunity to be removed, Fazekas said.
A proposal by the Socialist Party, the largest opposition group, to set up a parliamentary ethics committee so lawmakers can be disciplined for racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic or anti-Islamic remarks, was supported by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and most of the deputies from his Fidesz party.
Orban said the government guaranteed the safety of all minorities in the country.
"We will protect them, including the Jewish minority living in Hungary," Orban said Tuesday.
Jobbik won nearly 17 percent of the vote in the 2010 elections and is the largest opposition party after the Socialists. Its slipping popularity has been based on an extreme nationalist message with strong anti-Roma and anti-Semitic overtones.
An estimated 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust and now about 100,000 of the country's 10 million people are Jewish.

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