After the Constitutional Court rejected judicial motions for the annulment of legislation criminalising homelessness, the Government was given free rein to act against the poor in the name of the law. The Misdemeanour Working Group (a working group consisting of civil rights defenders) and their volunteer lawyers are seizing all possible legal means to stand up for the people persecuted to their poverty by the authorities due.On 25 July 2019, the Pest Central District Court issued a warning to a poor, ill-health man taken for a short-term arrest by the police from Nagyvárad Square in Budapest for “infringing the rules of residing on public premises for habitation.” With the warning, the court expressed its disapproval and urged the person subject to proceedings to refrain from committing a misdemeanour in the future. Lawyers from the Streetlawyer Association appealed against the the ruling, so the case continues before the Metropolitan Court of Budapest.
The man was not allowed to enter the courtroom where his own trial was held, and could merely follow the events on a screen. In addition to not being able to attend the trial in person, the man was even forced to wear handcuffs.
Based on the information we received, the procedure against the man is part of a two-week police action by which the Government is trying to demonstrate force to end the visibility of homelessness in public spaces.
The police had already started such proceedings against homeless people in the autumn of last year, but these were halted by judges who suspended the proceedings and turned to the Constitutional Court. They believe the statutory definition of the applicable misdemeanour violates the constitutional requirements of rule of law, the right to human dignity and the right to a legal remedy. Lawsuits were joined by the UN’s special rapporteur on housing, social worker professionals and civilians, including the Misdemeanour Working Group. Although several constitutional judges have expressed dissent, the majority of the Constitutional Court
has decided to uphold the law.
The members of the Misdemeanour Working Group and a group of volunteering lawyers seize all legal means to stop the prosecution of poor people. As part of this, they organise a volunteer network of counsels for a defence to protect those who have been brought in front of the court because of their homelessness.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]