Law Enforcement And Criminal Justice | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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People often feel vulnerable to law enforcement agencies. The HHC offers help in this inbalanced power relationship: we provide legal advice, legal representation, regularly monitor places of detention as well as make recommendations to improve people’s capacities to enforce their rights when they come into contact with the police and the prison service. Through our activities, closed institutions become more transparent and citizens’ vulnerability decreases.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee gave oral and written statements on the situation in Hungary at the 2018 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). On 12 September 2018, the HHC provided a statement on the independence of the judiciary, the right to fair trial, and on democratic lawmaking in Hungary.

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The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) filed a complaint with the Hungarian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against the new criminal provision threatening with imprisonment those assisting asylum seekers. As for the so-called ‘special tax on immigration’ this law can only be challenged in Strasbourg, as the ruling majority deprived the Constitutional Court of its right to review tax laws years ago.

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Against unprecedented pressure and the further dismantling of the rule of law in Hungary we remained a strong human rights watchdog in 2017. We continued to stand up for preserving democratic values, a vivid and independent civil society, the right to asylum and freedom from torture and inhuman treatment. Click here to learn more about what we achieved through strategic litigation, advocacy and capacity-building in 2017.

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Authorities terminated cooperation agreements with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and denied access to police detention, prisons and immigration detention after two decades of cooperation and 2000+ visits. The HHC can no longer monitor human rights in closed institutions, even though NGOs' access to police, prison and immigration detention reduces the risk of torture and ill-treatment and contributes to improving detention conditions.

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Promoting access to case materials of defendants and their defense counsels in criminal proceedings has been a long-standing priority of the HHC, and is related to activities involving a series of successful applications submitted to the ECtHR. The implementation of the Right to Information Directive by Hungary in 2014–2015 constituted a major step in ensuring the right to access of case materials.

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In its March 2015 pilot judgment issued in the Varga and Others v. Hungary case (in which three of the applicants were represented by the HHC), the European Court of Human Rights concluded that the overcrowding of penitentiaries in Hungary constitutes a structural problem, and Hungary should produce a plan to reduce overcrowding.

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