POLICE have issued a fine to the former head of the Presidential Office’s public relations section, Dárius Rusnák, a former ice hockey player, claiming he defamed two women for speaking Hungarian. He will be forced to pay €100.
“We could say that you will get a higher fine than €100 for speeding on the highway, but it is not so important,” one of the attacked women told the Sme daily, adding that she praises the police for qualifying the act as defamation of individuals based on their nationality.
The story was broken by the Hungarian-language daily Új Szó, which wrote in late-May that Rusnák verbally attacked two women for speaking Hungarian in the Prezident Café, after which he provoked a physical altercation with two younger men who came to the women’s defence, according to the daily.
Rusnák used vulgar language and told the women to leave the bar unless they spoke Slovak, one of the women, who wished to remain anonymous, citing fear of intimidation, later told Sme. Two younger men in the bar politely warned Rusnák that his behaviour was unacceptable. Rusnák and his companion allegedly responded by attacking the young men, knocking one of them to the floor, Sme reported.
In his testimony, Rusnák denied the claims about vulgar language, claiming that he just politely asked the women to speak more quietly or go to the next room. However, this was contradicted by the testimonies of five people including the women, the two younger men and a waitress.
The case was investigated by the railway police, who deal with cases of extremism.
Originally, the police claimed that the crime of defamation of a nationality or race did not occur, because if a person used only “a phrase comprised of a nationality and a vulgar adjective”, that does not constitute such a crime, Sme wrote.
Police spokesman Michal Szeiff told Sme that the size of the fine is adequate compared to other, similar cases. The daily pointed to the case of Drahoslav Machala, then- advisor to Prime Minister Robert Fico, who physically attacked poet Tomáš Janovic and his wife in April 2012. The Interior Ministry district office qualified the act as an offence against civil coexistence, fining him €40.
Rusnák left his post as of June 15, when the new president Andrej Kiska was inaugurated.
“Mr Rusnák understood that he made a mistake,” Marek Trubač the spokesperson of former president Ivan Gašparovič said, as quoted by Sme.
15. Dec 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff