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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Ex-Hungary ruler's remains stolen
Police examine grave of Janos Kadar
Janos Kadar remains a controversial figure in modern Hungary
Vandals who desecrated the grave of Hungary's last communist ruler stole some of his remains, police in Budapest have confirmed.

One report said Janos Kadar's skull and several other bones, along with an urn with his wife's ashes, were missing.

Graffiti reading "a murderer and traitor may not rest in holy ground" was daubed nearby.

His supporters say Kadar set relatively high living standards but critics say his opponents were tortured and killed.

'Appalling act'

The vandals removed a marble cover stone and broke into the coffin.

"Several bones, including the skull, are missing," Budapest police spokesman Tibor Jarmy told AFP news agency, after the remains were exhumed.

Police have formed a 10-member forensic investigation team to track the missing items.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany described the vandalism as "an appalling, inhumane and cowardly act."

Centre-right opposition party Fidesz also condemned the attack.

Kadar and his wife, Maria Tamaska, were buried together at Kerepesi Cemetery in the capital.

The graffiti was painted on a nearby memorial to communist workers.

Kadar ruled Hungary for 32 years from 1956, when Soviet troops crushed an anti-communist uprising.

He remains a controversial figure in modern Hungary.

While opponents claim thousands of opponents of communism were tortured, imprisoned or killed during his regime, others remember him as Hungary's greatest statesman.

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14 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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