BUDAPEST (Jun. 28)
The former Communist regime in Hungary provided a haven for some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, Interior Minister Balzas Horvath told a session of Parliament here Tuesday.
Among them were the mysterious Carlos, alleged mastermind of the June 1976 Air France hijack to Entebbe, Uganda,
Letters and documents made public by Horvath at a subsequent news conference confirmed that the welcome mat put out for international terrorists in the late 1970s and early 1980s was done with the approval of top government officials.
Hungarian newspapers on Wednesday published a letter dated April 2, 1980, in which Carlos thanked Hungary’s longtime Communist boss, Janos Kadar, for the asylum given his group the past year.
“Feeling the advantage of the security provided by socialist Hungary, we have been struggling for a year now to achieve our revolutionary goals,” the letter said in part.
“From our base in Hungary,” Carlos added, “we have developed international ties, getting in contact with the revolutions of every nation without hindrance on the part of Hungarian authorities.”
Carlos was the probable assassin of Sir Edward Sieff, president of the British Zionist Federation, in 1973, and played a role in the 1975 attack on the ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries who were meeting in Vienna.
ORGANIZED ENTEBBE HIJACK
Carlos is also believed to have organized the Air France jet hijack, whose passengers, including Americans and Israelis, were held hostage at Entebbe.
According to Interior Minister Horvath, the granting of asylum to Carlos had “obviously been a political decision” of the Kadar government.
The socialist daily Nepszabadsag said Wednesday that the sheltering of the terrorist groups was dealt with by “a very narrow circle of prominent leaders,” and their safety was the task of the state security.
The newspaper maintained, however, that Carlos and other international terrorists stayed in Hungary for “rest and relaxation.”
“According to information we have, their stay was not linked to any terrorist action,” Nepszabadsag said.
But Horvath displayed a copy of an inventory drawn up at the Interior Ministry in October 1980 listing weapons and ammunition left behind by Carlos and his group.
They included more than 100 pounds of explosives, 5,000 rounds of ammunition and pistols.
Asked if there are still terrorists on Hungarian soil, Horvath said as far as he knows there are none, but there could be some in the country without his knowledge.
Carlos was last in the news in 1984, when French authorities suspected he was responsible for several bombings in southern France.
Reports of his death have appeared since then but none could be confirmed. His present whereabouts are unknown.