The Hungarian National Police announced Tuesday Elemer Rostas, 51, and his 26-year-old son Henry were brought to Budapest Monday after being captured Oct. 9 at an apartment in Switzerland, five days following an escape from house arrest in Arokto, a village about 100 miles east of Budapest.
Prosecutors say the pair were part of an six-member gang of criminals, all members of the same family, who committed a dozen attacks against elderly people in Budapest suburbs and in rural areas in 2008 and 2009, two of whom died from their injuries, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported.
Authorities said officers of the Hungarian TEK counter-terrorism Center worked with the Austrian special operations tactical EKO-Cobra unit to bring the men back to Hungary after their escape had ignited calls for reform of the country's procedures for house arrest.
The case of the Arokto Gang has been slowly working its way through the criminal justice system for five years of criminal proceedings. Prosecutors this month called for life imprisonment for the accused gang members, who had been under house arrest since April. They had been released from jail following four years of pre-trial detention.
Under current Hungarian law, the imposition of house arrest does not automatically result in technical means such as ankle bracelets to monitor defendants' motions -- the consent of the suspect is needed to do so.
The Interior Ministry said the gang members under house arrest were checked by police up to seven times daily, the legal limit under the rules of home detention which say that such checks must not interfere with the defendant's private life without legitimate reasons.
Another accused gang member had agreed to wear an ankle tracker.
The case has prompted the ruling Fidesz Party call for new measures that would remove the upper limit on the duration of pre-trial detention for the most serious crimes as well as make it mandatory for suspects under house arrest to wear a tracking device, MTI reported.
Fidesz lawmaker Gergely Gulyas told reporters Wednesday that under the proposal, the upper limit of four years for pre-trial detention would be removed in case of suspects facing at least 15 years imprisonment on murder charges, while experts would be given a deadline of 60 days to submit reports to help speed up procedures.
The opposition Socialist Party, meanwhile, has launched hearings to probe the conduct of the National Judicial Office in connection with Rostas' escape and the radical nationalist Jobbik Party has blasted the government for what it called its "failed system" of not requiring mandatory trackers.
The proceedings against the Arokto Gang members have dragged on for so long partly because of the financial constraints on the forensic capabilities of the Interior Ministry -- it can take more than two years to prepare a comprehensive opinion in a complex criminal case, the Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag reported.
That brought sharp criticism from Socialist Member of Parliament Harangozo Tamas, who said it was premature for the government to set up its house arrest rules without the funding in place to pay for continuous monitoring of suspects or the requirement of electronic monitoring.
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