In the wake of a horrific crime, the Hungarian public has been living in capital punishment fever. Last Saturday Kata Bándy, a 25-year-old police psychologist was murdered while on her way home in the south-Hungarian town of Pécs. The unsuspecting victim was beaten, raped and strangled. An alleged perpetrator is in custody and many think that even the death penalty would be too little for him to pay for this crime.The press has seized on the uproar surrounding the case, so the issue of criminals facing the consequences of their acts is currently on everybody’s mind. Public safety is atrocious in Hungary: with this much anyone will agree. But the point is especially important to emphasize for the extreme right and their paramilitaries who want to restore order on Hungary’s streets – by authoritarian measures if necessary.
The extreme right, however, is not the only political party intent on profiting from appearances of an uncompromisingly tough on crime stance. Among those who have asserted that the Hungarian state should reclaim its (supposedly) rightful prerogative to take the life of its citizens are members of the governing party Fidesz’ own parliamentary caucus. In a statement issued with the Bándy murder in mind, a group of MPs in fact vowed to introduce legislation in the fall to include the death penalty in the country’s criminal code.
Given the wide-spread pre-occupation with just how soft Hungarian law is on crime, the opinions surrounding another criminal investigation currently under way in Hungary are more than puzzling.
To Prosecute (Or Not) A Nazi Criminal