Italy summons Hungary envoy after images of shackled Italian woman at Budapest court emerge

Italy has expressed strong disapproval of the treatment of Ilaria Salis, a 39-year-old Italian woman, by Hungarian authorities after images emerged of her in chains in a Budapest court.

Ms Salis is facing trial in Hungary for allegedly attacking neo-Nazis and the images of her, shared widely by the major Italian newspapers, have sparked outrage. Italy officially summoned the Hungarian ambassador to express its concerns.

A teacher from Monza near Milan, Ms Salis was arrested in Budapest in February last year after participating in a counter-demonstration – the annual “Day of Honour” – against a neo-Nazi rally, according to reports.

She faces three counts of attempted assault and is accused of being affiliated with an extreme left-wing organisation.

Ms Salis denies these charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 11 years.

In the images, she can be seen in court in chains with tied hands and feet.

“This time it seems to me it has gone too far,” Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani told RAI radio. “Treating a prisoner in that way really seems inappropriate, not in tune with our legal culture.”

The prosecutor claimed that Ms Salis came to Hungary “to carry out rapid attacks which could cause serious injury against people believed to be far-right”.

Her case came to the spotlight after her father, Roberto Salis, spoke publicly about the harsh conditions of her detention.

“We are in the European Union and there are citizens’ rights that must be respected,” Mr Tajani said. He suggested that the woman be put under house arrest rather than a jail.

Ms Salis is due to stand trial on 24 May.

Meanwhile, an online petition calling for her to be returned to Italy has gained massive support, amassing over 90,000 signatures.

Ms Salis’s lawyer accused Hungary’s judicial system of being “highly repressive” and said that it was “quite difficult to be optimistic” about the outcome of the trial.

Her father, Roberto Salis was quoted as saying by TGCOM24: “It was a hard blow to see my daughter Ilaria dragged to court in chains. She needs to be got out of that prison in Budapest. The pictures speak for themselves. Ilaria has to go back to Italy.”

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