May 13 (Bloomberg) -- A Budapest court sentenced Bela Biszku, a former communist-era interior minister, to prison for his role in leading the crackdown against the 1956 uprising against Soviet-backed rule, MTI state news service reported.
The actions of the now 93-year-old Biszku, including his role in the murder of 49 people and the torture of others following the uprising, constituted war crimes, the court determined in a first-instance ruling, MTI reported. He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison. Biszku denied the charges and the verdict is subject to appeal.
Biszku’s conviction comes 58 years after Soviet tanks crushed the Hungarian uprising. Repression, torture and executions followed as communists led by Janos Kadar consolidated power, which they didn’t relinquish for four decades. Hungary’s transition to democracy in 1990 was peaceful, following negotiations between opposition groups and the communist leadership.
Biszku said he didn’t regret any of the events that occurred following the quashing of the 1956 revolution, according to an interview aired on public television Duna TV in August 2010. Biszku served as interior minister from 1957 to 1961 and remained part of the communist party leadership until 1978. He retired from national politics in 1989.
Biszku was also found guilty today of denying communist-era crimes and for the illegal possession of bullets.
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