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At the height of the ongoing frenzy surrounding the past of Hungary’s Communist secret agents, hvg.hu has uncovered a list of people who were convicted for spying by the Communist regime.

People included in this reversed secret agent list share a common fate. They have been convicted in political trials, however, they still cannot expect to be rehabilitated under the current democratic system in Hungary. The list published by hvg.hu includes people who have appeared in the Hungarian press earlier, but it also reveals names who have not been mentioned publicly before.

It is still contradictory how people evaluate agents who spied on the former Communist regime in Hungary. Some consider them traitors, while others call these people heroes. As far as the Hungarian state is concerned, the Hungarian Republic today applies the same status to people convicted for spying after 1963 as the one applied by the former Hungarian People’s Republic. At the change of the system, those convicted for spying, together with ordinary criminals, were relieved from imprisonment in a general amnesty act, however their charges against them have not been dropped.

However, it is without question that people imprisoned for spying were convicted in political trials. Hungary violated international treaties with its practice that spy-cases were tried behind closed doors. After their arrest, people charged with spying could not hire their own lawyers, but had to select from a list of lawyers approved and trusted by the state. Convicted people contacted by hvg.hu said the lawyers not only did not defend them during the trials, but also worked against them, and attempted to squeeze more information out of them. One of the convicted people said his lawyer contributed to him losing his holiday home near Lake Balaton.

Since the system change, the Hungarian Parliament has passed two amnesty laws and three decrees abolishing previous punishments, however these resolutions have not saved people convicted for spying after 1963.

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