09 January 2020
The Prime Minister’s Office admitted in a press release today that he had misinformed the Hungarian public by presenting “misleading and falsely presented facts” about the activities of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. As the Supreme Court ruled the apology has to be issued on the landing page of kormany.hu, the governments ’s official website, and leave it posted for 30 days. In addition, the government also paid the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) a compensation of 2 million HUF in damages, which will be used for free legal assistance by the HHC.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee sued the Prime Minister’s Office in 2017, because the national questionnaire distributed as the government’s propaganda material in letter form to more than 8 million households contained false allegations on the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. The HHC asked the court to confirm and rule that the government had violated the reputation of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. The lawsuit was finally won by the non-governmental watchdog organization in 2018.
Later the Prime Minister’s Office initiated a review process by the Supreme Court, which, by its ruling of 22 November 2019, fully upheld the final judgment. After all, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee won the lawsuit against government. As the Supreme Court ordered, the government has to apologize to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee in a press release and issue this statement on the opening page of its official website for 30 days, and the association must be paid a compensation of 2 million forints. Today the government acknowledged the Supreme Court’s decision, issued the bulletin, paid the compensation, and started the apology on the front page of its official website.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee will use the two millions for free legal assistance for those who have come into conflict with the illiberal regime and have had the courage to stand up for others or for themselves.