picture of Sándor Pintér

The situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary is troubling, says the European Parliament’s fact-finding delegation, as reported yesterday. The delegation gave an account of their results Monday afternoon at the Parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

The group’s report revealed that the Minister of the Interior, Sándor Pintér (pictured), acknowledged to visiting MEPs that his ministry had employed Pegasus spyware. But he also said that all uses of the software complied with Hungarian law.

“All applications of the software were in accordance with Hungarian law. No Member of Parliament was surveilled.”

-writes the delegation in its report.

Sándor Pintér also told them that other Member States had used software similar to Pegasus, but only Hungary has been attacked for it.

In early November, after a closed meeting of the National Security Committee, Fidesz politician Lajos Kósa admitted that the Ministry of the Interior had purchased Pegasus surveillance software. However, the Budapest Regional Investigation Prosecutor’s Office recently decided that the software had not actually been officially purchased by the Ministry of the Interior.

Investigative news outlet Direkt36 revealed over the summer that the government had purchased surveillance software developed by the Israeli NSO Group for ostensible use against terrorists, but that it was being used in Hungary against journalists, businessmen, opposition politicians, and students.

[Telex]

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By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.