Italian activist freed from Hungary returns home after being elected to European Parliament

ROME (AP) — Italian anti-fascist activist Ilaria Salis returned to her parents’ house in the northern Italian city of Monza on Saturday evening, after being freed from house arrest in Budapest the day before.

“A nightmare is over,” her father Roberto Salis told journalists waiting for her at her home.

“Now we must ensure that this accusation for which Ilaria believes she is innocent is dropped,” he added.

Ilaria Salis was released after being elected as a new member of the European Parliament for the Italian Green and Left Alliance earlier this month.

The 39-year-old activist was elected during her time under house arrest in Hungary, where she is on trial and faces charges for allegedly assaulting far-right demonstrators.

European Parliament lawmakers enjoy substantial legal immunity from prosecution, even if the allegations relate to crimes committed prior to their election.

More than 170,000 voters in Italy wrote Salis’ name onto the ballot in a bid to bring her home from Hungary, where she has been detained for more than a year.

Salis became a hot-button political issue in Italy after images emerged of her handcuffed and shackled in a Hungarian courtroom where she faced trial.

The Italian activist was charged in Hungary with attempted murder after being part of a group of anti-fascists accused of assaulting individuals they believed were linked to the far-right Day of Honor last year.

The event, held annually on Feb. 11, sees far-right activists mark the failed attempt by Nazi and allied Hungarian soldiers to break out of Budapest during the Red Army’s siege in 1945.

The alleged victims of the attack reportedly didn’t complain to police.

Before the European Parliament election earlier this month, Salis’ father repeatedly voiced concerns over his daughter’s trial, saying she faced up to 24 years in jail. The Hungarian prosecutor had asked for a prison term of 11 years.

The Associated Press