An Italian woman being bound in chains while appearing in a Hungarian court has sparked outrage in her home nation.
Ilaria Salis, an anti-fascist activist, was arrested in Budapest last year on suspicion of being involved in attacks against participants in Hungary’s Day of Honour commemorations.
Each year on 11 February scores of neo-Nazis honour the failed escape attempt by Nazi forces and Hungarian soldiers out of Budapest during the Red Army’s siege of the city in 1945.
It also drums up support of vehement anti-fascist demonstrators.
Salis was seen in court being led by a guard with a chain in hand.
She was also handcuffed and her legs shackled limiting her movement, in what has been described as “humiliating conditions” by the Italian government.
The two leaders are on good terms, though this is a delicate situation for the far-right-led government of Ms Meloni.
The Italian foreign ministry called on the Hungarian deputy ambassador to protest after Salis appeared in court earlier in the week.
The ministry cited European and international law calling for the need to respect the dignity of prisoners “including the way in which defendants are transferred to court and the guarantees of a fair trial”.
It also requested Salis be placed under house arrest instead of being held in prison before her trial – the conditions of which made the front page in Italian newspapers following reports she was bound by the neck in a cell with mice and cockroaches.
The ministry demanded Salis’s lawyers have access to a video of the alleged incidents so a defence could be established.
Senate president Ignazio La Russa, who is a member of Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, said Italian law “prohibits inmates from being exhibited with handcuffs and in conditions of humiliation, whereas this isn’t the case in Hungary”.
If Salis is convicted, prosecutors have requested 11 years in prison for her.
Hungarian prisons are reportedly short of the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights, with regards to detention conditions and overcrowding.