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The opposition LMP has called on President Katalin Novak to revoke presidential clemency granted to a man convicted for coercing victims of paedophilia to withdraw testimonies. LMP spokeswoman Anna Süveg told a press conference on Monday that Novák had pardoned a man who used his position as the deputy director of a children’s home in Bicske, in central Hungary, to blackmail residents to withdraw their testimony against the “paedophile director”. Süveg called the decision “despicable”, noting that Novak had also pardoned György Budaházy, “who had been convicted on terrorism charges”. LMP is requesting access to the documentation leading to the decision, and calling on Novák to address the issue publicly. “Sentencing the perpetrators is something we owe the victims,” she said, adding that Novák was abusing the right to grant pardons, “a special and exclusive right of the country’s president”.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) is launching an impeachment procedure against Novák over the issue. Parliamentary group spokeswoman Olga Kálmán said on Monday that “someone pardoning an accessory to paedophilia … is not worthy to serve as Hungary’s president.”
The opposition Párbeszéd party proposed that Novák provide reasons for her decisions related to the pardon and sign a related document, which should be published in the official Hungarian Gazette. The president’s decision to release the accomplice of a paedophile criminal was “shameful”, Bence Tordai, the party’s group leader, told an online press briefing. He said a part of Novák’s job was to represent the unity of the nation and its moral dimension, and she had abused her position and power, adding that she had lost the trust of the people and “can no longer be president of the republic of Hungary”.
Meanwhile, the opposition Jobbik-Conservatives on Sunday called on Novák to resign over her decision. Koloman Brenner, the party’s candidate for Budapest mayor, told a press conference that members of the Jobbik-Conservatives parliamentary group had called on Novák to resign and they invited all lawmakers to join the initiative. Brenner also said that “Hungary should have a president elected directly by the people, who does not execute party orders … but indeed represents the unity of the nation, and grants presidential pardon only in cases when there is a serious moral or political reason”.
Deputy party leader Anita Kőrösi told the press conference that the residents of the Bicske children’s home had endured over several years that the director sexually molested them. The deputy director, who was granted presidential pardon last April, “had assisted to this and wanted to persuade children to sign fake documents”, she added. Kőrösi demanded that Novák withdraw the presidential pardon and the deputy director should serve his sentence.