The Unacceptability of Miklós Hagyó's Pretrial Detention
This is a very informative piece detailing the battle between Hagyó, usually acting through his lawyer,and the Hungarian judicial system. This document, like many others, has been translated in an effort to communicate Hagyó’s story to the world outside of Hungary. If issues of comprehension arise while reading this, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Miklós Hagyó's detention issue is quite simple. After reviewing the available documents here, anyone can decide - at least imposed on itself - whether the prior arrest of Miklós Hagyó is consistent with the Hungarian laws or even with basic common sense of ordinary logic.
In order to be able to interpret these documents for those without legal training, it is necessary to clarify some basic concepts. We are convinced that for those who read these documents, it becomes clear why we decided to disclose the documents.
The pre-trial detention is not brought forward on punishment, but the guilty - only because of the presumption of innocence - neither can be considered as suspect, or the accused person (collectively, the legal terminology: "accused") or the freedom of distraction is in order for the prosecution to be conducted successfully. In other words, prior to the arrest of an accused person who has been arrested is presumed innocent, to which only the criminal law may be imposed by the conditions. The prior arrest, or so-called "general" terms, are that reasonable suspicion of a criminal offense exists against the person for which imprisonment may be imposed. However, this alone is not enough. In order to incarcerate someone to "prison" without a final judgment, it is also necessary to determine any of the so-called "special" conditions of the prior arrest. The Hungarian law recognizes four groups of these conditions, against Miklós Hagyó - since his prior arrests in the beginning of May 2010 - the authorities have raised two of them: the danger of escape and to thwart the process, as well as the risk of making the process more difficult. They claim if Miklós Hagyó would not be kept in the strictest conditions of detention (even if he would be placed under in-house custody, he would escape, hide, and / or by use of different devices - influence other suspects and witnesses and hide or destroy various evidence – this would make it difficult to conduct the procedure successfully.
We strongly believe that without any legal skills, merely with common sense, it is foreseeable that these reasons are untenable.
The reasons for Miklós Hagyó preliminary arrest
Miklós Hagyó’s defense attorney since the start of the procedure is almost like a mantra - and totally unsuccessful –repeating the following very compelling counter-arguments about the risk of absconding:
"The BKV affair from the beginning was followed by the media with particular attention. In the first months of 2010, a number of interviews have appeared with the already suspected persons in the case in which the interviewees claimed that Miklós Hagyó has committed serious crimes. To the Hungarian public it was obvious that Miklós Hagyó will be suspected in the BKV case. However, he did not escape or leave the country, although given his right of immunity, the authorities wouldn't delay. Miklós Hagyó was arrested in the early afternoon on May 14th 2010, after the formation of a new parliament when his rights of immunity was terminated. Even on this same morning of May 14th, Miklós Hagyó could have boarded on a plane headed in the direction to any foreign country that has no extradition treaty with Hungary. The authorities should not have restrained him, even if he would have advertised his intention in a full-page ad in a newspaper.”
In contrast, Miklós Hagyó did not escape, but three days before his arrest through his lawyer he contacted the police indicating his availability and that he is prepared to testify. On May 14 2010 at his home in which the address was known by the authorities, he was waiting for their arrival.
" The underlying argument of the danger of escape the court mentioned several times was that Miklós Hagyó sold his high-value real estates, or alienated them, and therefore had the necessary financial means to escape. The defense has indicated: that the transfer of the property transacted at a time (November 2009), when the money derived from them. If he had wanted to, he could have used that to escape at any time up until May 2010. The real estate sales proved just the opposite, a conclusion that was deduced from the court.
The courts in the defense of these arguments seemed as if they didn't even hear them. To this day no fewer than ten judges’ decisions were made about Miklós Hagyó's preliminary arrest- the question of rights of immunity arose the first time in the tenth mandatory writ which started in the seventh month of his preliminary arrest in November 2010. Even though Miklós Hagyó tried to contact the police before he was taken into custody, the slightest indication in a single court document can not be found - as if this fact does not exist.
The courts regularly justify the risk of absconding refer to an unspecified, mysterious evidence that - at least according to the authorities - suggests that Miklós Hagyó prepared an escape before his arrest. According to the judicial decisions at the initial stage of the case it seems that it is some kind of a police report. But neither the courts nor the prosecuting authorities did not provide the possibility for the defense to get become familiar with this report, although under the laws of Hungary this option exists and the Strasbourg Court has explicitly stated that the protection should be provided to the detention underlying evidence, because that is the only way to ensure a fair trial, to argue the merits of protection against the arrest. The complaint of the defender, linked to the Strasbourg practice in which he's asking a review of the prosecutor's decision refusing to disclose the evidence supporting the alleged escape danger, the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office is now seven months without an answer, although according to the criminal law, any concerns regarding a complaint would have had to come up with a decision within 15 days.
The situation is no better in the circumvention risk argument related field either. The defense raises cogent reasons -again and again-as evidence that on the part of Miklós Hagyó this threat does not exist.
" No data arose that Miklós Hagyó, before his arrest in any way - whether by influencing witnesses, or intimidating the other suspects or potential suspects - had tried to obstruct the procedure, even though that he was still in possession of the political positions and had informal power. Having an extensive network of connections as Deputy Lord Mayor and Member of Parliament could have given him a real chance to do so, but such actions and incriminating statements were not reported.
" It is therefore unlikely that the applicant is currently attempting to hinder the process in some way, when no formal or informal influence does not apply, and being denied by his former political allies and the press and public alike stigmatized him. The courts regularly try to support the need for preliminary detention because of his "peremptory" personality and his ability to influence other players in the process. In comparison, those press interviews, while Miklós Hagyó had been "accused" with serious crimes, were given at the time when he still had public importance. If they weren't afraid of him then, why would they be afraid of him now when his situation and negotiation power has radically changed?
" The investigation takes a long time due to the material evidence, documents and electronic media which were seized by the police a long time ago. The loss of former functions of Miklós Hagyó and the access to important documents obviously discontinued, and when taken into custody, his house was searched. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't destroy the incriminating evidence because there is no possibility to do so.
Reading the court decision carefully, it is obvious that the defense did not receive substantial answers to these assumptions.
The basic requirement of a fair trial, is to be heard by the courts, effectively consider and properly weigh the arguments which are against detention without a final judgement, and in spite of these arguments the decision is preliminary arrest, they then justify their position in detail, covering all reasons relied by the defense, and also what refutes them.
A review of the injunctions will be clear to readers that,for example, not a single referee forum does not explain what evidence or documents could be hidden by Miklós Hagyó who - without a doubt - could not set foot in BKV, or the offices of the Mayor's Office, and whose apartment had been searched by the police from cellar to attic months ago.
In the absence of a detailed judicial explanation, the suspect feels that he cannot ascertain the real reasons of the decision, and there's nothing else left for him to think other then that the judge did not refute the merits of the arguments because they really don't have any explanation.
Miklós Hagyó state of health
In relation to the case there is one more thing you should draw your attention to: Miklós Hagyó’s constantly deteriorating health.
The defense has indicated in relation to the pre-trial detention, that Miklós Hagyó has a number of serious, chronic illnesses, and at the beginning of the process asked the authorities to arrange for an expert in order to determine whether these diseases can be managed properly in prison conditions. For the Hungarian authorities it took almost four months to fulfill that request. During this time Miklós Hagyó lost 25% of his body weight, activated previous dormant diseases, causing severe symptoms.
The defense again and again requested that the courts should consider the continuing and increasingly severe deterioration in health, and if his complete freedom is not considered possible, at least ease it with in-house custody. The courts answer on a regular basis was that his health complaints can be managed properly within the prison.
The courts in this position emphatically denies the reality as Miklós Hagyó has now lost more than 40 kilograms (more than a third of his original weight, and the process still has not stopped). In the fall of last year, the central prison hospital's doctor wrote that his pulmonary condition (asthma) compared to the test in June deteriorated significantly, and the previous chronic middle ear inflammation flared up to such an extent that in the near future more ear surgeries will be needed.
The question is, if the courts are right, and Miklós Hagyó’s illnesses are managed properly in prison, why is his health getting worse? And how long until it gets worse that the court will believe that in prison conditions his state of health cannot be stabilized, let alone improved? Respectively, the answer is pending.
As a closing thought
We decided on the disclosure of these documents because we believe that the defense from the authorities did not get the real answer to the request - -more bluntly, it's like talking to a wall.
The circumstances suggests that in the traditional way what is explained in detail with substantiated arguments submitted cannot be achieved succesfully for authorities to engage in meaningful communication with the defense. So it remains - at this stage of criminal cases – a less conventional solution is to provide full transparency.
We are convinced that anyone who objectively reads the published documents will reach a conclusion what the defense continuously emphasized: in the case of Miklós Hagyó there's no escape, hiding possibility, nor the danger of process circumvention exists, therefore his detention - regardless of the kind of offences he is suspected with and his social status – in regards to the constitutional law of the Republic of Hungary can not provide justification.