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Historic trial replays in Hungary

Former Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was executed for refusing to condemn the fighters

An audio recording of the 1958 secret trial of Hungary's executed prime minister Imre Nagy is being played in public for the first time.

It marks the 50th anniversary of Mr Nagy's trial for treason for his role in the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising.

The 52 hours of tapes began playing on Monday morning, and will continue in real time in a gallery in Budapest.

The 1956 revolution is seen by many Hungarians as one of the proudest moments in their history.

Mr Nagy was prime minister during the Hungarian revolution, which was crushed by Soviet tanks after only 12 days.

Proud moment

The Communist authorities then put Mr Nagy and his associates on trial in the Hungarian capital Budapest.

It started on 9 June 1958 and lasted for a week. Mr Nagy, 62, was sentenced to death by hanging on 16 June 1958.

The tapes will be broadcast at times corresponding exactly to the original trial.

Statue of Stalin pulled down during 1956 Hungarian anti-Soviet uprising
Symbols of Russian rule were attacked and destroyed during the uprising

The idea of playing the tapes in public came from the 1956 Institute in Hungary and the Open Society Archives.

They had been held under lock and key at the state archives but were relinquished after pressure from intellectuals.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Budapest said the 1956 revolution against Soviet domination is held in the highest regard by most Hungarians.

He added that even though the revolution was defeated, it dealt a blow to Soviet Communism from which many historians say it never recovered.

Imre Nagy and his colleagues were rehabilitated and reburied in 1989.


SEE ALSO
Timeline: Hungary
22 May 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Hungary
05 Mar 08 |  Country profiles
Hungary's day of unity dashed
23 Oct 06 |  Europe

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