Italian Anti-Fascist Activist Jailed In Hungary To Be Moved To House Arrest In Budapest

ROME (AP) — A Hungarian court of appeal on Wednesday upheld a request from an Italian anti-fascist activist to be moved from jail to house arrest in Budapest as she awaits trial, authorities said.

The court approved Ilaria Salis’ request upon payment of a bail of about 40,000 euros ($43,000), according to a statement from the court. Salis will be able to leave house arrest only with the special permission of the court and will be monitored with an electronic bracelet, the court added.

The appeal had been filed by Salis’ lawyers in late March after a judge denied her house arrest in both Hungary and Italy.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani expressed satisfaction about the Hungarian court's decision after announcing it during a question time in the lower house.

The 39-year-old Italian teacher was arrested in the Hungarian capital last year after she was suspected of involvement in alleged assaults against participants in Hungary’s Day of Honor commemoration.

The event takes place on Feb. 11 each year, with far-right activists marking the failed attempt by Nazi and allied Hungarian soldiers to break out of Budapest during the Red Army’s siege of the city in 1945.

Salis, who is now running as a candidate in the European Parliament election on June 8-9 for the Green-Left Alliance (AVS), is accused of attempted murder for allegedly being part of a group of anti-fascists that are alleged to have attacked people they believed were associated with the far-right Day of Honor.

The woman has been led into court on several occasions on a chain with her hands and ankles cuffed, sparking shock in Italy, although Budapest said it was standard procedure for its prisoners.

The Hungarian prosecutor has asked for a prison term of 11 years, but Salis’ father said she risks as long as 24 years in jail on charges of attempted murder.

The alleged victims of her alleged attack reportedly didn't complain to police.

The Hungarian government has repeatedly defended its treatment of the Italian activist being held in jail, after her images chained and shackled also sparked official protests by the Italian government.

The case is a delicate one for the far-right government led by Premier Giorgia Meloni, who has forged friendly ties with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Italian politicians Angelo Bonelli and Nicola Fratoianni – who decided to put forward Salis as a candidate on the lists of the Greens and Left Alliance for the upcoming EU election -- said they were “happy and even more convinced of our choice.”

“Now, after this first victory, so important for her and all of us, we want to bring her back to Italy and then to Brussels as a MEP,” they said.


Justin Spike contributed to this report from Budapest, Hungary.