Belgian-Canadian student and DiEM25 member faces up to 8 years in prison after attending protest in Hungary
A Belgian-Canadian university student and DiEM25 member is facing up to eight years of jail-time after being arrested during a spontaneous protest in front of the Hungarian Parliament on the evening of December 12.
Adrien Beauduin, a PhD student in Gender Studies at Central European University, was arrested along with four other protesters, who are all being charged with collective assault on a public official. Police charges allege that all five who were arrested, including Beauduin, used their left arm to strike a police officer and then kicked in the direction of a police officer.
According to videos and photos from the event, as well as witnesses present, Beauduin did not attack any police officers. Available video footage of the demonstration shows him standing calmly before being swept up when police charged the crowd.
“I am being charged with a very serious crime that I did not commit,” says Beauduin. “I am afraid for my future and the future of my fellow protestors.”
If found guilty of the police charges Beauduin will face a prison sentence ranging from a minimum of two years to a maximum of eight years.
Beauduin is receiving legal assistance from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ). According to Dr. Nehéz-Posony, Beauduin’s TASZ lawyer, the date of the trial has not yet been set, though it is likely to take place this year. It is also expected that the lawyer will receive any police evidence connected to the allegations in January when Nehéz-Posony and Beauduin will receive 5 days’ notice of the trial date.
The December 12 protest, attended by thousands of demonstrators, was in response to a new labour law adopted by the Hungarian Parliament earlier that day, which has been dubbed the “Slave Law” by trade unions due to the severe overtime regulations it introduces for Hungarian workers. The demonstration turned into a clash when police pepper-sprayed the crowd as they gathered near the steps of the Parliament building.
Beauduin is a student activist with Szabad Egyetem (“Free University”), a grassroots movement comprised of students from universities throughout Budapest organising for and recognising the shared struggles between Hungarian students and workers. The Szabad Egyetem group issued a statement shortly after the arrest: “We maintain the innocence of the arrested student and emphasise that some of the others arrested on Wednesday may also have been selected arbitrarily. We support the right of people to voice their dissent to unjust laws and violations of parliamentary procedures.”
Since the initial protest on December 13, demonstrations have taken place almost daily in Budapest in front of the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian public television station as well as in several cities across the country.
DiEM25 stands with Adrien in his fight for democracy and we express our solidarity with all democrats who peacefully express their views.
You can support him by donating to the student campaign group he is part of: paypal.me/IstandwithCEU
For more information, interview requests or queries:
Adrien Beauduin: +36202678792 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Swerdlyk: +36702268600
Email: email@example.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OccupyKossuth/
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