BUDAPEST - Hungarian prosecutors on Monday detained a former top Communist party official for his role in the bloody suppression of an anti-Soviet uprising in 1956.
It was the first time that any of the Soviet-backed
Hungarian leaders of the time had been pursued in law for the
crackdown, which began with a Soviet invasion.
Bela Biszku, 90, was detained on suspicion of war crimes for
having directly supervised a Military Council that ordered the
shootings of civilians during protests in Budapest and in the
eastern Hungarian town of Salgotarjan in December 1956.
Large numbers of civilians were killed in the backlash
against the uprising, whose figurehead Imre Nagy was executed
for treason for establishing a government in defiance of
Moscow’s rule over eastern Europe.
In Salgotarjan, 46 people were shot dead by Hungarian and
Soviet armed forces, the prosecutors said.
“Today … prosecutors have detained and heard as a suspect
Bela Biszku, one of the key designers and one of those
responsible for the reprisals that followed the 1956 revolution
and uprising,” Tibor Ibolya, acting Budapest chief prosecutor,
told a news conference.
He said Biszku had denied the accusations.
Biszku came to public attention in 2010 when a documentary
film was aired on his role in the suppression of the uprising.
Biszku was named interior minister under Janos Kadar in the
Communist government set up after the uprising.
Prosecutors said they had applied to have him put under