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Appeals court ruling on Ahmed H deemed unlawful by Curia

Ahmed H is escorted at Hungary’s highest court, the Curia, on November 14, 2017 | MTI Fotó: Balogh Zoltán

A Szeged court will continue hearing testimony in the retrial of Syrian-born Cypriot national Ahmed H, who was convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison in December 2016, despite Hungary’s highest court, the Curia, ruling on Tuesday that the appeals court decision ordering a retrial was unlawful, reports hvg.hu.

The Curia’s decision, while legally binding, has no legal consequences for the retrial, reports index.hu. It could, however,  create a precedent for future cases, and could create the impression that all necessary evidence was available at the time of Ahmed’s conviction, which, in turn, could potentially influence the retrial.

Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt turned to the Curia in August, arguing that the appeals court ruled unlawfully when it found that not all available evidence had been considered during the first-level trial. According to Polt, the Szeged court of appeals should have made a final decision at the end of the appeals hearing to correct the mistakes it objected to from the first trial.

The Curia noted that the appeals court had invalidated the first-level decision not because it was unfounded, but because it lacked judicial reasoning. According to the Curia, this lack was not an obstacle to a final decision by the appeals court. Ahmed H’s attorney, former Justice Minister Péter Bárándy, said that such a revision to the first-level decision would have required additional work on the part of the appeals court for which it was not authorized, but the Curia rejected his reasoning.

Ahmed H was present at the Curia hearing but did not participate. His retrial in Szeged will resume on January 8 with the presentation of previous testimonies.

Krisztina Orbán :