Vol. 1, No. 12, 16 April 1997
OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON MINORITIES IN
SLOVAKIA. Slovak President Michal Kovac has told Max van
der Stoel, who is in Slovakia, that "things have not much
improved" since his last trip to Slovakia half a year ago. The
president's spokesman told journalists today in Bratislava that
the two men discussed the lack of a law on ethnic minority
languages in Slovakia, the abolition of bilingual school reports,
and the recent Education Ministry decree that some subjects
be taught only by ethnic Slovaks. Van der Stoel said the decree
violated the spirit of the Slovak Constitution. He also said
Slovakia's ethnic Hungarians have convinced him that they
have no separatist aspirations.
PENAL CODE DEBATE BEGINS IN HUNGARY. The
parliament yesterday began debating proposed amendments to
the penal code, the Hungarian media reported. Justice
Ministry State Secretary Dezsoe Avarkeszi said the four-fold
increase in crime since the beginning of the 1990s justifies
comprehensive changes to the code. Under the proposed
amendments, those sentenced to life imprisonment would not
be eligible for parole until they have served between 20 and 30
years, as opposed to 15-20 years stipulated in the current
code. Those found guilty of tax fraud could receive prison
sentences of between two and eight years. Harsher sentences
for child pornography and sexual abuse are also included.
Setting up an organization for the purposes of criminal activity
would also be punishable.
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