By BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– A middle-aged man is Hungary’s first person to be sentenced for Holocaust denial, Hungarian media reported Thursday, January 31.
Upholding an earlier ruling, a Budapest appeals court handed out an 18-month prison term, suspended for three years.
The 42-year old György Nagy, who was placed under supervision, attended a demonstration on October 23, 2011, holding a Hebrew banner with the text: “The Holocaust did not happen”.
He must therefore visit Budapest’s Holocaust Memorial Center at least three times and describe his experiences, the court ruled.
Alternatively, the unemployed computer technician may visit the former Nazi death-camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland or the Yad Vashem memorial center in Jerusalem, Israel.
He is also banned from attending demonstrations and other political events, Hungarian media said.
Denial of genocides committed by the Nazi’s was declared a crime by Hungary’s Parliament in February 2010.
At least 600,000 Hungarian Jews died during World War Two, when Hungary was a close ally of Nazi-Germany.
Under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the legislation expanded to include denying crimes against humanity during the Communist-era.
Critics have questioned whether the Holocaust, which saw the killings of 6 million Jews and others the Nazis didn’t like, should be compared to Communist crimes.
Orbán has also been accused of fueling anti-Semitism amid new tributes and statues to Hungary’s wartime leader Miklós Horthy, an ally of Adolf Hitler, and the rehabilitation of some anti-Semitic writers.
Last year, Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel returned Hungary’s highest state honour because of what he called a “whitewashing” of history in the European Union member state.
Hungary’s center right government has come under pressure to tackle extremism, following the vandalism of Holocaust monuments and Jewish graveyards as well as threats against Jewish people.
Legislator Marton Gyöngyösi, of the far-right Jobbik party, suggested drawing up lists of Jews who could pose “a national security risk.”
The remarks prompted international protests and a demonstration in Budapest.
Though most Jews were killed, or fled after World War Two, there are still some 100,000 Jewish people living in Hungary, according to official estimates.
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