Kyiv Post, Ukraine, on January 27, 2011, published an AP report that a former Hungarian interior minister seen as one of the main architects of repression after the country’s 1956 anti-communist uprising has been charged with publicly downplaying the regime’s crimes, prosecutors said. Bela Biszku was charged because of comments he made during an appearance on state television on Aug. 4, 2010 in which he said he had nothing to apologize for, said Gabriella Skoda, the spokeswoman of the Budapest Chief Prosecutor’s Office. Excerpts below:

Hungarian lawmakers have made it a crime punishable by up to three years in prison to publicly deny, call into question or minimize the Holocaust. In June, the law was amended to refer instead to crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi and communist regimes.

Biszku, 89, became interior minister in the wake of the anti-Soviet revolution, when over 220 people who participated in the uprising were executed and many thousands imprisoned or persecuted.

He resurfaced in 2010 after the release of a documentary film about his life that included lengthy interviews with him. Biszku and his family attempted to block the film’s release because the filmmakers had initially misled him about their intentions.

Speaking on state-run Duna TV in August, Biszku said he considered the 1956 uprising to be a “counterrevolution” that was trying to restore a capitalist system.

Historians say there is ample documentation proving that Biszku was a key figure in the repression. For many years after the revolution, for example, he was part of a secret communist party group that directed the work of the courts.


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