Police Raid Homes of Hungarian Minority Leaders in Ukraine to Intimidate Voters
Sole Parliamentary Representative for the Community Appeals to European Parliament
Following armed raids at the homes of ethnic Hungarian community leaders in Subcarpathia, Ukraine, the president of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Subcarpathia (KMKSZ) called on the newly-elected European Parliament president to “demand that Ukraine observe the Law on Elections, in order to give minorities at least a fair chance to have their interests represented at the parliamentary level.” In his July 15 letter to EP President Sassoli, László Brenzovics wrote about “numerous illegal activities and undemocratic policies,” which threaten the fairness” of the July 21 parliamentary elections and the future of his community.
In a show of solidarity, locals rushed to the home of ethnic Hungarian Károly Rezes - an elected official on the Subcarpathia County Council – on Monday when police stormed his Szőlősgyula (Diula) house with a warrant falsely accusing him of buying votes. A hearing is scheduled in Kiev on July 19. Earlier that day, police also raided the home of Salank (Shalanky) mayor, Viktor Aljohin.
Brenzovics told karpatalja.net on Tuesday that “Accusations of us buying votes is absurd and nothing other than attempts to intimidate the activists and representatives of the Hungarian community in Subcarpathia…we emphatically protest the fact that authorities are harassing us instead of pursuing the real perpetrators of election fraud.” Moreover, the Hungarian community stands to lose any and all representation in the Rada with the rejection of a Subcarpathian voting constituency in violation of Article 18 on the Law on Elections to the Supreme Council of Ukraine.
"The intimidation and harassment of Hungarian community leaders, journalists, teachers, and organizations continues unabated,” states the appeal for help to Sassoli and the use of his good offices on behalf of minority rights and democratic practices. In fact, none too soon, the Hungarian Cultural Alliance learned, via Twitter, on Thursday, July 18, that acting Foreign Minister Jehor Bozsok had instructed the Ukrainian Security Service to begin criminal proceedings against KMKSZ. The charges? Apparently using the "Hungarian colors" of red-white-green on a map in its publication to indicate those election districts of concern for ethnic Hungarians in Subcarpathia is tantamount to "inciting separatism" and threatening "the inviolability of Ukraine's territorial integrity" per Article 110, Section 2 of the penal code. Brenzovics denounced the foreign minister's actions as those fomenting anti-Hungarian sentiments on the heels of the election, and appealed to the central authorities for normalized relations between the communities.