Originally appeared at DWN, translated by Karin exclusively for SouthFront
Hungary wants to deport refugees and migrants without a trial on Serbian territory. The reason: Previously, illegal immigrants were brought to trial. But after a short time they were released and went into hiding – or defected into the EU.
Apparently Hungary wants to bring refugees that are illegally coming along the Balkan route into the country, without trial back to Serbia or Croatia. Starting Tuesday, people who, after an illegal border crossing picked up within eight kilometers of the border in Hungary, are to be returned to the border. There they should be shown the way to the next “transit zone” said György Bakondi, security adviser to the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday. The Hungarian Parliament has approved this procedure.
These “transit zones” are located beyond the Hungarian borders and according to Hungary not on Hungarian territory. Refugees can apply for asylum there. If illegal immigrants refugees are picked up, they would have to go to court for border violation, as stated in the law that’s that is in force in Hungary since the summer of 2015. According to Bakondi this was previously done in 4942 cases. Usually they are sentenced to deportation to Serbia or Croatia, but this is rarely implemented because these neighboring countries hardly ever take back the refugees.
Since the beginning of this year Hungary had picked up 17,351 illegal immigrants, Bakondi said. Throughout 2015 there were approximately 391,000 refugees, 330 of them are in custody. From altogether around 199,000 asylum applications Hungary has approved 264.
Gregor Mayer from the German Press Agency described some time ago in an interesting reportage how illegal immigrants are landing in Hungary in court:
A hard line against asylum seekers yields some strange results. The Hungarian Justice punishes people who violate the border with expulsion from the country. But the sentence cannot be implemented.
Szeged (AP) – It’s a day like any other in the House of Justice of the southern Hungarian border town of Szeged. In hall 34 in the impressive neo-Renaissance building from the late Monarchy, time district Judge Illes Nanasi sits court on nine refugees: four men and a woman from Eritrea, and a man and three women from Somalia. Their “crime”: They were three days earlier caught crawling in the dark of night under the border fence, with which Hungary since last September seal themselves off against refugees.
Rukaja F., a woman in her mid 20s from Somalia, is the fifth defendant and the first to want to make a statement in this process. “Trespassing the border” is namely since mid-September 2015, in Hungary a criminal offense which can be punished with up to three years in prison. F. argues that she had no other choice but using human traffickers to get past the border control because of being from Somalia. Countries that lay along the Balkan route, which passes the with a border fence reinforced Hungary, are letting since one and a half months only refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan pass.
The trafficker, says F., promised her and the co-accused in Serbia that he would bring them to Croatia. She herself wants to go to Finland, because her husband is already there. That they are in Hungary, they only learned after police had taken them. The trafficker had lifted up the fence, which suddenly appeared in front of them, so that they could crawl underneath.
Judge Nanasi trying somehow hard to give the process some seriousness. “What do you think is the purpose of a fence?” he asks the defendant F. “We thought it is a prison” tried F. to explain. The judge inquires further: “What do you think in general, indicates the purpose of a fence?” The young woman does not get embarrassed: “In general, a fence is probably to block something. But we thought we were locked in. ”
Judge Nanasi is unimpressed and concludes the evidence in the case of F. Rukaja. The accused – as is apparent from their statements or by the judge determining by the investigation protocols – each have their story. The Somali nurse Fatima M. A. claims she is threatened into a forced marriage to a fighter of the Islamist terror militia Al Shabaab. Halima M. on the other hand indicates that her husband got killed from Al-Shabaab people and the Islamists abducted her eldest daughter. The Eritrean Shaban B. is fleeing the dictatorship in his homeland and has a more than three-year odyssey behind him that took him across the Sudan, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Greece into the middle of Europe.
But in front of the new Hungarian penal law “illegal overcoming the borders” these fates are meaningless. The prosecutor requested no prison, but an expulsion for the accused. The two young mandatory defenders are able to speak for the first time during the closing arguments. They argue for clemency – and a mere warning for the “delinquents”.
Judge Nanasi announced after two and a half hours the judgments, all the accused are expelled for two years of the country. Just 16 minutes accounted on each defendant for this process. 797 such summary proceedings, according to the press office of the court, were in Szeged implemented since the “border fence-paragraph” came into effect. In 770 cases the sentence was an expulsion of the country. In addition, there were two suspended sentences and three warnings, the rest are closed or not yet completed procedures.
Absurd appears on this legal practice that the regional references cannot be implemented. Serbia refuses to take back the in Hungary convicted refugees. Yet they spend several weeks or months in Hungarian detention. At the end they have to be released. Most of them then move on to Western Europe, suspecting human rights activists.