Ilaria Salis will ask for house arrest (also) in Hungary

Ilaria Salis will ask for house arrest (also) in Hungary

Ilaria Salis will submit a request to have house arrest in Italy or, alternatively, in Hungary. “Ilaria has changed her mind – explained her father Roberto Salis – given that this request to apply for house arrest in Hungary has arrived from many quarters. Now we have to find a house in Budapest and then we will submit the request.”

Ilaria Salis, the hostage

by Carlo Bonini (editorial coordination), Viola Giannoli, Giuliano Foschini and Fabio Tonacci. Multimedia coordination Laura Pertici. Production Gedi Visual

The case of house arrest

Until now, the request for house arrest in the Hungarian capital had never been made. Ilaria Salis and her lawyers hoped to be able to take advantage of a 2009 European Union framework convention which establishes the mutual recognition of precautionary measures between member countries. And therefore the lawyers of the anti-fascist from Monza had, several times, tried to bring her back to Italy to await the trial. But Italy with the foreign ministers Antonio Tajani and Justice Carlo Nordio, has completely closed this possibility. “Irritual and inadmissible”, according to the executive, “an epistolary exchange between an Italian ministry and a foreign judicial body”. The path that led to house arrest in the Italian Embassy in Bucharest was also “impossible”: “National security is at stake”, Tajani had said.

Here, therefore, is the most concrete possibility to get Ilaria Salis out of Hungarian prison, also based on the considerations of the Hungarian lawyer assisting the woman, Gyorgy Magyarto, is that of house arrest in Hungary itself. In a private residence that the parents will now have to look for, where they will have to establish a domicile and where, if the Hungarian judiciary gives the OK, Ilaria Salis can be transferred. “It will have to be a safe place,” the father has always underlined, worried by the threats that have appeared on neo-Nazi sites and chats, as well as the mural with her daughter hanged on the walls of the Embassy.

The videos of the attacks delivered to Salis

Meanwhile, 12 months after her arrest, Ilaria Salis was finally able to view the videos which, according to the prosecution, constitute the key proof of her guilt because they film the two attacks against a Hungarian and two Germans, all neo-Nazis, which occurred between 10 and February 11, 2023. “It is a 10 terabyte hard disk that must all be seen because the prosecution does not know which piece of information it wants to refer to – explained the father – Until now he had them but it had not been allowed to view them, just to frame the scenario in which this process takes place”.

The Hungarian Ambassador’s letter in the Italian press

Roberto Salis then added: “I expect the Italian institutions to reiterate to the Hungarian government that in our country the press is free and foreign interference in the work of Italian journalists is not welcome.” The reference is to the letter that the Hungarian ambassador in Rome, Adam Kovacssent to the media and posted on the embassy’s Facebook page.

The ambassador complains of “a particularly distorted and disproportionate representation” that “a significant part” of the Italian media has given of the Salis case, “especially in the evaluation of the Hungarian judicial system, such as to give rise to doubts whether the editorial comments were made exclusively by political, as well as ideological, considerations aimed at casting Italian-Hungarian relations in a bad light”.

The change of pace from Budapest

A change of pace in the Hungarian strategy in managing the case. Which now shifts to videos. “Without going into the merits of the judicial case which will be decided by the Hungarian judiciary in its full independence, little and bad has been said about the events that occurred and the conduct of Ilaria Salis. According to the evidence collected by the Hungarian investigative authorities, the picture of what it happened in the days of February one year ago it seems clear” and “absolutely illicit conduct emerges from the videos in possession of the judicial authorities”.

It will now be necessary to understand whether those conducts – which also occurred because they were filmed and described by some witnesses – involve Salis or not and to what extent. The attacked, who never filed a complaint, suffered injuries that healed in 5-8 days. The Ambassador writes: “Regardless of whether or not the accused Salis was involved in these events, I believe that the clear tendency to belittle these very serious episodes and to present them, in a manipulative way, as a simple ‘fight between demonstrators’, is rather worrying”. “The fight against the ‘fascist danger’ – a claim already questionable in today’s context of a united, peaceful and democratic Europe – cannot justify the behavior of which you are accused and already condemned in your homeland on other occasions, Ilaria Salis”.

The anti-fascist teacher, known to the police, has had four convictions in the past. However, these are street crimes ranging from the invasion of buildings to resistance to a public official during occupations, demonstrations and evictions.

“Political violence is never on the right side of history – continues the Ambassador – Everyone’s freedom of expression and peaceful protest are safeguarded by our legal system, without the need to resort to bars or hammers in our pockets for self-defense” .

In the taxi in which Ilaria Salis and two other German citizens were traveling on the day of their arrest – which coincides with the Day of Honor in which hundreds of SS nostalgics gather in Budapest for marches and historical commemorations, including violent ones – unauthorized but tolerated by the 1997 by the Hungarian authorities, there was a retractable truncheon, for defense.

Of relationships between Salis and Hammerbande, the hammer gang born in Germany, there is no evidence. The hypothesis of terrorism never existed – Salis specified – My daughter is accused of belonging to a criminal organisation. In the trial documents there are 800 pages of a trial in Germany on an organization, in which my daughter’s name never appears, so it is not clear why my daughter was involved.”

“Whoever comes – concludes the Ambassador – with the aim of carrying out ideological clashes with physical violence, must know that in our country those attempted acts of subversion of the democratic rules that we have given ourselves will always be opposed with the utmost firmness and without any indulgence”.

The Budapest prosecutor’s office has asked for an 11-year sentence for Ilaria Salis. However, for those injuries with a prognosis of a few days which according to Hungary were “potentially fatal”, the Italian anti-fascist risks up to 24 years in prison.


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