Hungarian Jewish writer, 80, seeking asylum in Canada
(BUDAPEST) - Octogenarian Jewish writer Akos Kertesz of Hungary has left for Canada where he is seeking asylum because of a "political campaign" against him, his press service said Sunday.
After Kertesz slammed wartime Hungary's role in the Holocaust in an article published last August, "a political campaign was mounted against him, not only by the Budapest city hall but also from within the government and parliament," a statement said.
Kertesz, 80, winner of the Hungary's most prestigious literary prize the Kossuth, left last Wednesday, it said.
"Following the political campaign by the pro-government press, Mr Kertesz suffered threats and harassment, he felt his life was in danger," it added.
It quoted Kertesz as saying: "I did not make my decision against Hungary or the Hungarian people but against the current government. I hope to be able to return again to a human and democratic Hungary."
The article, published by Amerikai Nepszava, a Hungarian-language newspaper in the United States, described wartime Hungarians as "genetically subservient" for their role in the Holocaust and slams them for failing to admit responsibility for the deaths of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews.
Since Hungary "did not apologise, it will not receive absolution," he wrote.
He also likened Hungarians to pigs who "like to wallow in the mud without worrying about the butcher who will soon slit their throats."
Kertesz amended the article in September, omitting the mention of 'genetic subservience'.
Hungary has introduced a raft of judicial and constitutional reforms that critics have said undermine democracy by removing vital checks and balances on the government's power.
The European Commission posed legal challenges in January to several of the new laws.
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