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Hungary. The president responds to criticism for pardoning a man convicted of covering up pedophilia

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Hungarian opposition parties have called on President Katalin Novak to resign after she pardoned a man convicted of complicity in covering up pedophilia. Nowak, responding to the criticism, assures that during her presidency “there was and will be no mercy for pedophiles and that was the case here.”

I am a supporter of tougher actions against pedophiles, said the president Hungarian Katalin Novak in response to growing criticism after the pardon of a person convicted of covering up pedophilia.

On Tuesday, the president spoke for the first time on the matter that came to light at the end of last week. – During my presidency, there was and will be no mercy for pedophiles, and that was the case in this case – she said at a press conference with the president Armenia Vahagn Khachaturian.

According to Novak, the criticism surrounding the pardon is a political campaign that contains many false allegations. However, she did not explain why she pardoned a person convicted of covering up pedophilia. She only emphasized that she was a supporter of tougher actions against pedophiles.

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– It is true that every decision on clemency (…) is divisive, and I always try to make decisions as carefully as possible regarding the hundreds of clemency applications that are submitted to me – said the president.

Criticism of President Novak is growing

We respect the president’s decision, said Balazs Orban, advisor to the Hungarian Prime Minister, in a statement for the HVG website. However, if there is such a will, there may be changes in the law to publish justifications for the use of the law of pardon by the head of state in the future – he added.

However, criticism towards President Katalin Novak is growing in Hungary. Opposition parties are preparing to initiate the procedure to dismiss Novak from office.

President of Hungary Katalin NovakNOEMI BRUZAK/PAP/EPA

According to the Hungarian media, the pardon situation will probably have a negative impact on the ratings of Fidesz – Viktor Orban’s party, as well as on the international reputation of Novak, who regularly emphasizes her commitment to families and children.

Pardon for a person convicted of covering up pedophilia

Hungarian President Katalin Novak has pardoned the former deputy director of an orphanage in Bicske in northern Hungary, who was sentenced to three years and four months for helping cover up his boss’s pedophilia crimes. The director of an orphanage, whose victims were at least ten minors in 2004-16, received an eight-year prison sentence.

The pardon was allegedly granted under the pretext of a visit Pope Francis in Budapest in April 2023. “The Pope’s visit is a special opportunity for the head of state to exercise the right of grace. Therefore, the president decided to grant a wide range of pardons on this occasion,” the presidential palace wrote at the time about the application of the law of pardon.

Hungary’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Coalition (DK), wrote a letter to the Pope, informing him about the matter and seeking support for its critical position.

This is not the only controversial and criticized pardon in Hungary in connection with Francis’ visit. Novak then forgave the sentence, among others. far-right activist Gyorgy Budahazy, convicted of terrorism.

Main photo source: NOEMI BRUZAK/PAP/EPA

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