World Bulletin/News Desk
Hungary's ruling Fidesz party on Monday dismissed U.S. allegations of corruption against six officials in its government, saying Hungary was "not Guantánamo", where Washington could make accusations without proof.
The United States last month barred the six from entry, saying they were involved in or had benefited from corruption, and that Hungary's commitment to transparent democracy was waning.
Hungary's tax chief Ildiko Vida last week said she was one of the six, but denied any wrongdoing. On Sunday, thousands demonstrated to demand her dismissal and stronger democratic freedoms.
Conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has raised eyebrows among Western partners, including the United States and the European Union, for policies that have limited democratic freedoms and - his critics say - pulled EU member Hungary into Russia's orbit.
It says it has no knowledge of whatever specific corruption cases the United States has based its travel bans on, and expects Washington to present proof so Hungarian investigations can begin.
Vida on Monday visited American Chargé d'Affaires André Goodfriend, unannounced, and said he had referred to a dossier of corruption cases, but offered no concrete evidence.
"We learned nothing," she told the news channel Hir TV, which accompanied her.
Antal Rogan, leader of the Fidesz parliament group, said that, since no evidence had been passed on in any of the cases, "we must conclude there are in fact no such specifics".
"Hungary is not Guantánamo," he said. "Nobody can be accused here without proof." Around 150 foreigners considered a threat to U.S. security are held by the United States at its base on Cuba, many without charge or trial, outside the protections of the U.S. justice system.
Rogan also urged Washington to send Hungary "an ambassador who can represent American interests with sufficient weight".
American television producer Colleen Bell, a donor to President Barack Obama's election campaign, has yet to be confirmed to fill the vacant ambassador's post after performing unconvincingly in a Senate confirmation hearing in January.
The U.S. Embassy could not immediately comment because it needed to refer back to the State Department.Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2014, 22:08