The prime minister is “morally bankrupt” and should resign after admitting that he personally approved the transfer of the Azeri axe murderer while knowing the likely consequences, the leader of the opposition Socialists said on Tuesday.
Attila Mesterhazy said it was clear from Orban’s comments at a news conference today that he had been aware that Azerbaijan would release the life-sentenced Ramil Safarov after his repatriation.
Mesterhazy said Orban had been warned by Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics about the likely consequences and he took the decision nevertheless. Orban took this decision “without thinking”and is the only one to blame for the scandal, he added.
If Orban refuses to resign, Fidesz lawmakers should try to control him and prevent his actions from causing further damage to the country, the Socialist leader said.
Orban told a press conference earlier in the day that “nothing happened after our decision that we did not expect”. He was responding to an article published by the online news portal origo.hu which accused Orban of ordering the transfer of Ramil Safarov with full knowledge that he would be released on his return to his homeland sooner or later.
Orban said the decision was taken at a government level and all ministries affected were involved, but he, “naturally, as always,” had the final say.
Janos Lazar, head of the Prime Minister’s Office, rejected news website origo.hu’s information that the issue had been discussed at a recent Fidesz board session. He said that Prime Minister Viktor Orban had not given any kind of instruction to transfer Safarov, nor had he been in a position to.
Mesterhazy insisted that Lazar had been “lying” when he told Origo that Orban had “not given any orders” to repatriate Safarov.
The topic of the repatriation of the Azeri axe murderer to his native Azerbaijan was taken off the agenda of the parliamentary national security committee’s Tuesday session at the initiative of ruling Fidesz deputy Mate Kocsis.
Mesterhazy said he disagreed with this decision, saying a national security investigation into the transfer would be appropriate.
Safarov, sentenced to life imprisonment for killing an Armenian in Budapest in 2004, was transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan on August 31. On arrival in Baku, he was pardoned by the president and released. Armenia suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary later that day.