Head of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s (HCLU) Legal Aid Service, Andrea Pelle is representing a collegue from HCLU and the biggest Hungarian NEP in Budapest in a strategic litigation–type criminal procedure. The social worker, followed by the media reports himself with sterile and used syringes at the Budapest Chief Prosecutor’s Office on the World AIDS Day, 12.00 Budapest time.
dr. Andrea Pelle and István Gábor Takács
front of the Prosecutor’s Office building
Source: RTL Klub News, 1st of December 2005
HCLU’s aim with the action is to address a legal statement of the Hungarian Chief Prosecutor’s Office. In the critized statement, the Office declared „any kind of activity, related to illegual drug use” as a relevant reason to start a criminal procedure.
This time it is not the Police, but the other main law enforcement agency, the Persecutor’s Office is the one which sees Needle Exchange Programs as a possible criminal investigations’ targets. The Budapest Police Headquarter actually has a valid agreement with Budapest NEP providers not to harras needle exchange services and clients. But when the service providers aimed to develop that agreement to a nationwide-one, the Chief Prosecutor of Hungary raised its voice against the agreement with the legal statement above.
HCLU uses Strategic Litigation in this case to make it clear: is a social worker who carries steryle and used syringes while working for a NEP is a criminal, or someone who should be supported for his valuable harm reduction services? Hungary’s official National Drug Strategy – together with the relevant international organizations – states the later option, but the country’s Chief Prosecutor seems to go with the first one.