Updated: Claims of “Inhumane Conditions” in Budapest Prison by Italian Female Inmate

  • 12 Feb 2024 6:22 AM
  • Hungary Around the Clock
Updated: Claims of “Inhumane Conditions” in Budapest Prison by Italian Female Inmate
The Hungarian ambassador in Rome was summoned to the Italian Foreign Ministry yesterday to explain what the ministry sees as the harsh treatment of an Italian far-left activist who was brought into the court in leg chains.

Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani spoke to Hungary’s Péter Szijjártó about the matter.

The woman’s father has tried to draw attention to Hungarian prison conditions since last autumn when his daughter was incarcerated.

Italian media reported that the 39-year-old woman from Milan, Ilaria Salis, was led in to a courtroom in handcuffs and leg chains in Budapest on Monday.

She is accused of being involved in attacks on far-right activists in the streets of Budapest in February of last year.

Tajani said he had talked to the Hungarian foreign minister to protest against the treatment of Salis.

He said he would look into whether Salis could be placed under house arrest or taken to Italy to serve her time there.

Her family says Salis could not place a phone call for six months and she is kept under terrible hygienic circumstances under strict detention like a terrorist.

Prison staff held a press conference in her cell to brief the media about the conditions in her cell: TV, internet, telephone, private toilet.

Hungary Ambassador to Rome Rejects Claims in Italian Defendant's Budapest Case

Hungary’s ambassador to Rome dismissed claims of “demeaning prison conditions” by the family and lawyers of an Italian defendant held under arrest in Budapest as “false”, in the prime time evening news programme on Italian public broadcaster Rai 1.

The defendant, identified as I.S., is one of three defendants kept in prison on charges of participation in violent attacks by the Antifa movement in Feb. 2023 in Budapest.

Ádám Zoltán Kovács told the programme that contrary to the claims, all requirements and norms are strictly observed in Hungary’s prisons, noting that the defendant was allowed to meet her lawyer on several occasions and maintain continued contact with her family.

Asked about the defendant’s wearing handcuffs and shackles in the courtroom, the ambassador said it was a measure of precaution necessitated because of the gravity of charges.

Hungarian Opinion: Commentators reject accusation by Italian antifascist defendant


Pro-government columnists dismiss allegations of appalling prison conditions made by an Italian woman who stands accused of grievous bodily harm against people whom her group suspected of being neo-nazi sympathisers.

Ilaria Santis, a 39-year-old teacher from Milan travelled to Budapest last year with eight of her comrades from several European countries with the intent of attacking people whom they considered fascists. Some of the victims were seriously injured. Pictures showing her being led into the courtroom in chains made the headlines of Italian newspapers and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni raised the issue with PM Orbán.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Szentesi-Zöldi finds it absurd for Ms Santis’s lawyer to call her a ’proud anti-fascist’ and argues on that basis that she should be released and kept in house arrest, because as such, she would never escape.

Szentesi Zöldi writes that the defendant is not facing a trial because she is anti-fascist but because she attacked several people and beat them up for political reasons, causing serious injuries.

He dismisses as absurd her allegation that her cell was swarming with lice and rats. Inmates in Hungary voice no similar complaints, he claims, although he adds ironically that Norwegian jails must be more comfortable.

In Magyar Hírlap, Pál Dippold hopes that Hungary will never allow political violence to become standard practice in its cities. He also condemns the lawyer of the defendant for characterising Salis’s prison environment as ‘Balkan’.

Dippold quotes the prison authorities as saying that Ms Salis made hundreds of phone calls while in detention, uses a mobile phone, and no lice or rats were found in or around her cell.

MTI Photo

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