A court in Budapest has sentenced a 92 year-old former top communist official to more than five years in prison for war crimes related to the killing of civilians after the 1956 uprising.
Hungary’s former Interior Minster Bela Biszku was also convicted of other charges, including denying crimes by the communists. Biszku pleaded not guilty and his lawyer says he will appeal.
Prosecutors argued even if Biszku did not pull the trigger, he and other top leaders gave special militias an “ideological order to shoot” in reprisals against civilians who rose up against the Kremlin-backed government in 1956. Dozens were killed when police fired into crowds of protesters in Budapest and the town of Salgotarjan.
Biszku’s lawyer says the trial was politically motivated.
The shootings took place after the Soviet Union sent tanks and troops into Hungary to put down a revolt against the government.