On Tuesday, the Italian ministers summoned the Hungarian ambassador in protest against this treatment of the country’s citizen.
The photos, in which 39-year-old Ilaria Salis can be seen in court with her hands and feet shackled, appeared on the front pages of major Italian newspapers and caused a wave of indignation, The Guardian writes.
A teacher from the Italian city of Monza was arrested in Budapest last February after an incident at a neo-Nazi protest. The woman has been charged with assault and is accused of belonging to a radical leftist organization. The Italian denies the charges against her, for which she faces eleven years in prison.
“It seems to me that this time it has gone too far,” Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told RAI radio station.
This case is another big political headache for Ms. Meloni, who had a relatively warm relationship with the head of the Hungarian government. It seems that among the leaders preparing for the European Union elections in June, a black cat may run across, The Guardian writes.
A. Tajani says that he does not want to interfere in the Hungarian legal system, but “this kind of treatment of the prisoner is unacceptable, incompatible with our legal culture.”
The Hungarian ambassador was summoned to explain himself on Tuesday. “We are the European Union, and the rights of citizens must be respected,” said the head of Italian diplomacy, adding that he had already spoken to the Hungarian foreign minister about the case.
The Italian ambassador to Hungary visited the country’s Ministry of Justice on Tuesday, and met I. Sallis’s father in the morning.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy proposes that I. Salis should be placed under house arrest instead of imprisonment.
“It shocked me, she was being dragged around like a dog. It’s true madness, the Italian state must take urgent action”, complained Eugenio Losco, one of I. Salis’ lawyers.
In the letter, I. Salis told about the humiliating conditions in which she was kept in a Hungarian prison for almost a year. As the woman wrote in October in a letter first published by the La7 channel on Wednesday, she was kept with another person for a month in a cell with an area of less than 7 square meters, excluding the bathroom.
“You spend 23 hours out of 24 in a completely closed cell… In addition to bed bugs, the cells and corridors are full of cockroaches and mice,” the woman said.
“I didn’t have toilet paper, soap and sanitary napkins,” said the Italian woman.
I. Salis’ father Roberto said his daughter was treated “like an animal”.
The Hungarian government defended its treatment of Salis on Wednesday. “Of course her movements were restricted in the courtroom, and yes, she has already spent 11 months in detention,” Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote on X. “But ‘inhumane’?” Not really. Being taken seriously for the crime she’s accused of? More like this,” he added.
G. Meloni, who heads the “Brothers of Italy” party, used to get along well with V. Orban, but the politicians’ views differed on the issue of Ukraine – Rome sends money and weapons to Kyiv, which is defending itself from Russia, while V. Orban tried to prevent the European Union’s support package.
The Italian publication “Il Giornale” announced on Thursday, after EU leaders finally managed to reach a unified agreement on aid to Ukraine, that Italian Prime Minister G. Meloni played a “key role” in persuading V. Orban. According to the publication’s sources, G. Meloni started her diplomatic work a few months ago, and her activity reached its peak last week. It is reported that between Tuesday and Thursday, G. Meloni talked with V. Orban three times about this issue.
“After Tuesday’s phone conversation and yesterday’s hotel meeting, followed by a long night of delegation work, Mr. Meloni and Mr. Orban met again this morning before the start of an extraordinary EWC meeting,” the publication wrote.
After one of the meetings with G. Meloni, V. Orban stated that he will take steps to ensure that I. Salis is treated properly.
“The only thing I can do in the case of Salis is to influence her to be treated properly,” Orban said, adding that Hungarian courts are independent from the executive branch.
I. Salis will appear before the court on May 24.