Hungarian Police Accused of Abusing Powers to Arrest Critics

Police in Hungary on Wednesday at 6am detained an opposition politician, János Csóka-Szűcs, in Gyula, a small town in Békés County, the media outlet Magyar Narancs reported.

Csóka-Szűcs is the local leader of an opposition movement called the Kossuth Circle and a supporting member of the Momentum party.

Police raided his home and seized his mobile phone and computer, and he was detained and interrogated at the local police station.

Csóka-Szűcs was told that he was being questioned because of a Facebook post from April 20 that he published in a local group "Uncensored chatroom of Gyula," which was suspected of fear-mongering.

He may face charges under a recent amendment to the criminal law that introduced punishments of one to five years in jail for spreading "falsehoods" or "distorted truth" deemed to obstruct the efforts to combat the pandemic.

This amendment was the part of the controversial Coronavirus Bill, which critics said gave almost "dictatorial" powers to the Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán.

In response to the arrest, the opposition Democratic Coalition said it was organising an "online demonstration".

Katalin Cseh, an MEP from the Momentum movement, asked people on Twitter to share the story of Csóka-Szűcs. She accused the police of abusing the law to detain critics of the Orbán-led government.

On April 20, when anti-government demonstrations were held in Budapest, and in the town of Gyula, Csóka-Szűcs shared a call for the demonstration, adding that "1,170 beds were emptied in Gyula as well" to deal with the pandemic.

His post referred to the country-wide anti-pandemic measure during which 60 per cent of all hospital beds were freed up to deal...

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