Police: Hungarian student lied about extremist attack

THE POLICE investigation into an alleged attack by two skinheads on an ethnic Hungarian girl in the town of Nitra has been called off because the girl made the story up, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák told a press conference yesterday.

Kaliňák’s claim added a further twist to tense relations between Hungary and Slovakia, with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico saying the police findings absolved his government of accusations of extremism, and opposition Hungarian Coalition Party leader Béla Bugár claiming the police investigation left many questions unanswered.

Fico said the incident had been the main reason his government had taken international criticism over its commitment to opposing extremism, and that “the reason never existed.

“We won’t tolerate extremism or hatred, but nor will we tolerate anyone destroying the good name of the Slovak government on the basis of false evidence and inventions,” Fico said on September 12.

The police investigation uncovered numerous inconsistencies in the testimony of Hedviga M., Kaliňák said. For starters, while the girl claimed she had been attacked for talking Hungarian on her telephone, phone records showed she had neither made nor received a call at the time of the attack. Furthermore, the handwriting in which the slogans “Hungarians Back Across the Danube” and “Slovakia Without Parasites” matched Hedviga’s own hand.

Police suspect Hedviga M., who was due to re-sit a university exam in the Hungarian language the day she claimed to have been attacked, merely wanted to get out of her schoolwork.

Other findings that led police to question the girl’s claim included the fact that saliva on the flap of the envelope in which Hedviga’s personal documents were returned her the day after the incident was found to be her own, following DNA tests.

Bugár asked why a court-appointed doctor had waited 10 days to examine Hedviga, why police had never taken her to the scene of the alleged crime, and why she had never been asked to identify her attackers in a police lineup even though police claimed to have interviewed 650 possible suspects.

Hedviga M.’s lawyer appealed the decision to shelve the investigation, and said his client was willing to undergo a lie-detector test.

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