Malinová case: Protraction and insensitive approach

Hungary has finally closed the controversial case involving an attack against a Hungarian-speaking woman in Slovakia.

Hedviga Žáková (formerly Malinová)Hedviga Žáková (formerly Malinová) (Source: SITA)

August 2006. Two young men with shaved heads attack a frail student by the name of Hedviga Žáková, then Malinová, in a park on her way to Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. She is being attacked because she speaks Hungarian. Hedviga hears anti-Hungarian slurs while the men hit her in the head.

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On her blouse, these men write "Hungarians beyond the Danube! Slovakia without parasites!" Meanwhile, they demand she takes off her tights, earrings, and jacket, and hand over her wallet.

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This is how Žáková described the attack in her testimony.

"One of them then hit me in my face with his open palm on my left cheek," claimed Žáková in her testimony, which is published online. "I do not remember what happened next, I just fell down on the ground and felt a kick in my stomach. Nothing else."

She does not recall further details as she became unconscious twice during the attack.

Police closed the case within a few weeks, saying no crime had been committed. The then interior minister Robert Kaliňák and PM Robert Fico held a press conference, during which they labelled Žáková a liar.

Nearly a year later, in May of 2007, police charged the student with perjury and making false claims. Law enforcement authorities in Slovakia were unable to resolve this charge in the nine years that followed.

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Prečítajte si tiež: Hungarian police closed the Malinová case Read more 

International media and human rights organisations took notice of the student's case, criticising Slovak investigators for protracting the case and their insensitive approach to the victim.

Meanwhile, the young woman got married to her Slovak boyfriend, Peter Žák. She moved to Hungary and received Hungarian citizenship. Her case was hence relegated to the Hungarian prosecutor's office in December of 2016. This October, the prosecutor's office in Hungary concluded that the evidence is contradictory.

"Based on the evidence available, it is impossible to say, without a doubt, that Hedviga Malinová Žáková was not attacked in Nitra on August 25, 2006." reads the decision by the Hungarian prosecutor's office. "Thus, it cannot be said, without a doubt, she was giving false testimony."

The Új Szó Hungarian language daily, published in Slovakia, reported it on November 21, 2018.

"It would be better had we managed to close the case when it happened," said Justice Minister Gábor Gál of the junior coalition party Most-Híd, adding the case has harmed society and, in particular, her.

Gál was Žáková's attorney at the beginning of the case.

"What is the value of justice if we only get it after so many years?" he added.

Žáková refuses to comment on the decision of the Hungarian prosecutor's office.

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