BUDAPEST, Hungary (MTI)—Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban is “morally bankrupt” and should resign after admitting that he personally approved the transfer of Azeri axe-murderer Ramil Safarov while knowing the likely outcome, the leader of the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party said on Sept. 11.
Attila Mesterhazy said it was clear from Orban’s comments at a news conference earlier on Sept. 11 that he had been aware Azerbaijan would release the life-sentenced Safarov after his extradition. Mesterhazy said Orban had been warned by Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics about the likely consequences, yet decided to extradite Safarov. Orban took this decision “without thinking,” and is the only one to blame for the scandal, Mesterhazy added.
If Orban refuses to resign, Fidesz lawmakers should try to control him and prevent his actions from causing further damage to the country, the Socialist leader said.
Orban had told a press conference that “nothing happened after our decision that we did not expect.” He was responding to an article published by the online news portal origo.hu, which accused Orban of ordering the transfer of Ramil Safarov with full knowledge that he would be released on his return to his homeland sooner or later.
Orban said the decision was taken at a government level, and while all ministries affected were involved, he—”naturally, as always”—had the final say.
Janos Lazar, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, rejected origo.hu’s reporting that the issue was discussed at a recent Fidesz board session. He said Orban had not given any kind of instruction to transfer Safarov, nor been in a position to.
Mesterhazy insisted that Lazar was “lying” when he told Origo that Orban had “not given any orders” to repatriate Safarov.
The topic of the extradition was taken off the agenda of the Parliamentary National Security Committee’s Sept. 11 session at the initiative of ruling Fidesz Deputy Mate Kocsis. Mesterhazy said he disagreed with the decision, adding that a national security investigation into the transfer would be appropriate.
Safarov, sentenced to life in prision for killing an Armenian in Budapest in 2004, was transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan on Aug. 31. On arrival in Baku, he was pardoned by the president and promoted. Armenia suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary later that day.