Jobbik stands for its threatened Transcarpathian organizer

MTI Hungarian News Agency reported on Wednesday that the Secret Service of Ukraine (SBU) officially warned Jobbik’s Transcarpathian organizer Dezső Kovács who was ready to quit the party and discontinue any cooperation with Jobbik. As the source of the news, the agency indicated the media service of SBU’s Transcarpathian division but, in an utterly unacceptable manner in terms of media ethics, they failed to contact the affected Mr. Kovács, who therefore had no chance to refute the unilateral Ukrainian release.

In reality, Dezső Kovács was called by the SBU via telephone and he voluntarily went to the secret service’s Ungvár (Uzhhorod) office to answer any questions raised. What took place in the office was a lengthy interrogation with some occasional table-banging and shouting, all of which was recorded on video. According to the SBU’s accusations, Jobbik conducts separatist activities in Ukraine with the ultimate goal of tearing Transcarpathia away with Russian assistance. The ridiculous “evidence” listed to back the service’s statements are that Mr. Kovács has a Greater Hungary-shaped picture on his Facebook page and that in one of the photos he holds a red-white-green flag with the word “Transcarpathia” written on it. He was also reprimanded for the allegedly separatist activity of organizing the Verecke event as part of the Feszty Memorial Year programme, with historical quiz games and excursions for Hungarian primary school students.

The SBU also issued a written warning to Dezső Kovács to the effect that he should expect 7-12 years imprisonment and general confiscation of his property upon his next violation unless he abandons his non-existing anti-Ukrainian activity. At the end, our Transcarpathian organizer had to authenticate the memo of the procedure with his signature, stating that he acknowledged the charges against him. However, contrary to MTI’s report, the memo contained no reference to Dezső Kovács quitting Jobbik and discontinuing any cooperation with the party, and Mr. Kovács has no such intentions.

Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary rejects the charges that the party is preparing for any separatist activities in the territory of Ukraine. However, we do continue demanding full territorial autonomy and the related rights for self-governance in terms of language use, education and culture. We find it unacceptable that the European Union (just like several times before) lies idly by while EU citizens are threatened and harassed just because they have the courage to stand for the rights of their ethnic communities. Also, we must clearly see that this case is far beyond Dezső Kovács as a person or Jobbik as an organization: the Ukrainian government wants to intimidate the entire Transcarpathian Hungarian community and any Hungarians standing up for their rights.

Naturally, Jobbik stands for its threatened Transcarpathian organizer and is ready to provide any assistance for him to prove his innocence and we ask the Hungarian government to demonstrate a similar stance, too. We hereby call upon the Ukrainian government, which abuses its power and oppresses its ethnic communities, to comply with the relevant treaties on human and minority rights and refrain from further tarnishing its already bad international reputation by conducting a show trial.

 

Gábor Vona, president, Jobbik