On 24 March the Budapest City Court sentenced Agnes to 2 years in prison, with a 5 year ban on practising as an obstetrician/ midwife. The case was based entirely on data provided by the Prosecution, and the opinions of international homebirth experts in support of Agnes were not submitted. Judge Janos Cserni was whistled and jeered by some 50 supporters of homebirth who gathered spontaneously outside the court to protest against the sentence. Agnes’ lawyers appealed immediately against the sentence and Agnes will remain under house arrest pending the outcome of the appeal
This sentence is all the more astonishing, given the recent efforts of the Hungarian government to regulate homebirth after twenty years of failure. However, despite the introduction of the first Hungarian homebirth legislation on 1 May this year, the need for a professional midwifery body continues to be ignored.
We call on the Hungarian authorities, starting with the President of the Republic, Pal Schmitt, to urgently review this travesty of justice, and we call on all supporters of natural birth, and homebirth, in Hungary and internationally, to support Agnes – please write to your members of Parliament and the Hungarian Embassies and Consulates worldwide to express your outrage at this sentence, and appeal for it to be lifted.