BUDAPEST — The chamber in the Municipal Court of Budapest was packed, observers crammed into sweaty overflow rooms staring at closed circuit television screens and anxiously awaiting the verdict. As these rooms filled, an unwieldy queue formed outside as an incongruous gaggle of journalists, victims’ family, and some skinhead supporters of the accused implored court officials to let them in to hear the verdict. Arpad Kiss, his brother Istvan, their friend Zsolt Peto, and accomplice Istvan Csontos stood dead-eyed in front on the judge, flanked by masked policemen. Today Peto wore a buttoned-up collared shirt that covered up his “88” tattoo — a numerical reference to “Heil Hitler.”
Four years ago in a bar in Debrecen in eastern Hungary, fuelled by the neo-Nazi skinhead underground culture, these men devised a plan to commit a series of violent attacks on the country’s Roma minority, who comprise around 8 percent of the population of 10 million. Using a combination of guns and Molotov cocktails, the gang killed six Roma, including a four-year-old child, and injured over 50.
Read more. [Image: Helene Bienvenu]