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Premier Urges Parliament to Absolve Hungary’s Executed Uprising Leaders

June 1, 1989

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ The premier today urged Parliament to consider declaring former government leader Imre Nagy and others executed for their role in a 1956 anti-Soviet uprising innocent of all wrongdoing.

Also today, Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty for political crimes and lifted constraints on the ownership of private property.

Nagy, premier in 1956, was executed in 1958 after being convicted of anti- state crimes. But Premier Miklos Nemeth today told Parliament the Nagy trial was not entirely based on legal considerations.

″I suggest to Parliament that it consider a law that states the innocence″ of Nagy and other uprising leaders, Nemeth said.

His comments were the latest in the de facto rehabilitation of Nagy by the Communist Party. Nemeth said the government would issue its official position on the trial before June 16, the 31st anniversary of Nagy’s execution.

In an appeal partly directed at the Soviet Union, Nemeth urged other communist nations to help Hungary review the revolt.

″The political concepts forming the basis for the judgment developed not only in Hungary,″ Nemeth said, seeming to suggest the political climate at the time reflected the overall situation in the Soviet bloc.

Nemeth also appealed for calm on the June 16 anniversary, when the remains of Nagy and other executed revolutionary figures - exhumed from unmarked mass graves - will be reburied.

″Let June 16 be a day of mourning and remembrance, and it’s up to us whether we look back on it as a day of national reconciliation,″ he said. ″It’s up to us that the era that began with the 1956 national tragedy does not end with a national tragedy.″

Also today, Parliament passed laws permitting unlimited purchases of property by individuals, after decades of constraints on private ownership.

There was only one abstention in today’s vote by the 380-member Parliament that abolished the death penalty. Justice Minister Kalman Kulcsar invoked the memory of Nagy during the discussion that occurred before the vote.

The death penalty vote came just one day after the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party described Nagy as ″a significant figure of Hungarian post-1945 history.″ In a statement, the party described those who died in the fighting as ″a loss to the nation.″

Until early this year, the revolt - the bloodiest within the Soviet bloc - was officially described as a counterrevolution. In February, the Communist Party partially revised its view, acknowledging that it began as a popular uprising. A statement Wednesday, drafted by the Central Committee, said many on both sides ″fought heroically and died for causes they believed just.″

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