Handó blocks judge from appearing on television program

November 7, 2017

In theory, there could a worse leader than Tünde Handó, but that's hard to imagine seeing this from the inside
Photo: 444.hu/Júlia Halász

 

“In 2012, we welcomed Tünde Handó as an insider, a professional, a very good court president, a modern person, a real reformer. She did not deliver on any of her promises. Things can always be worse, but that is hard to imagine when you see it from the inside.” – Péter Szepesházi, Hungarian judge

National Office of the Judiciary (OBH) president Tünde Handó has blocked Judge Péter Szepesházi from appearing on RTL Klub’s Magyarul Balóval, a widely-watched television talk show which deals with matters of Hungarian public life.

Szepesházi, who has emerged as a vocal critic of the centralization of Hungary’s judiciary under Handó, was invited to appear on the program to speak on the situation of the national court system.

(Handó is the wife of Fidesz MEP and European People’s Party co-chair József Szájer who, during a recent town hall forum to drum up support for the government’s “Soros Plan” national consultation, compared the refugee crisis to the Game of Thrones Army of the Dead.)

According to hvg.hu, Handó blocked Szepesházi from joining the TV discussion by contacting Sándor Fazekas, Szepesházi’s superior and president of the Budapest-Capital Regional Court.

Fazekas reportedly notified Szepesházi in writing that he is restricted from doing so because anything he says might be misconstrued as representing the official position of the judiciary.

A representative of the OBH was also invited to appear on the show but reportedly declined.

In a recent interview with 444.hu, Szepesházi expressed pointed criticism of the failures of the national judiciary since the creation of the OBH (and Handó’s appointment to run the agency) in 2012.

“In 2012, we welcomed Tünde Handó as an insider, a professional, a very good court president, a modern person, a real reformer. She did not deliver on any of her promises. Things can always be worse, but that is hard to imagine when you see it from the inside,” Szepesházi said.

In particular he has criticised the workplace culture within Hungary’s judiciary, the burdensome workloads of judges, and the top-down instructions given to judges as guidelines in helping them rule on cases.