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In a judgment published this week, the Constitutional Court of Hungary ruled that the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure that allows for unlimited pre-trial detention pending a first instance judgment is unconstitutional. The decision comes six years after the Ombudsperson asked for a constitutional review based on a request by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Eötvös Károly Institute.

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The European Court of Human Rights established in 2015 that overcrowding in penitentiaries in Hungary constitutes a structural problem. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe examines the Varga and Others v. Hungary under the enhanced procedure.

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After the Hungarian government declared a state of danger due to the pandemic in March 2020, one of the first extraordinary measures adopted was a blanket ban of all kinds of gatherings, demonstrations and assemblies, excluding the possibility of considering the individual circumstances of each case.

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The new Hungarian assembly law, adopted in 2018, provides an opportunity for the police to impose undue restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly. Although courts seek to preserve the level of judicial protection of this fundamental right, in several cases, administrative requirements deprive organisers from the possibility of substantive judicial review.

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