Hungary: Fines for “disruptive” MPs breached European human rights law

Opposition MPs, fined for disrupting Hungary’s parliament, suffered a breach of their human rights.

That is the judgement of Strasbourg judges, who agreed today that as just satisfaction (Article 41), Hungary should pay more than €30,000 to the applicants who challenged the sanctions imposed by national authorities.

In its Chamber judgments in the cases of Karácsony and Others and Szél and Others v. Hungary (application nos. 42461/13 and 44357/13) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and
a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in conjunction with Article 10.

The cases concerned complaints by members of the Hungarian Parliament of two opposition parties about having been fined, for gravely disturbing Parliament’s work, following their protests against two legislative proposals.

The court concluded that the sanctions had been disproportionate. In particular, they had been imposed by the Speaker of Parliament without compelling reasons, without a previous warning, and they had been adopted without a debate.

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