TORONTO - Ugly racist slurs and threats directed at a Roma fugitive who has gone into hiding in a desperate bid to stave off return to Hungary is more evidence of why he should be allowed to stay in Canada, his supporters said Wednesday.
The vitriol on a right-wing Hungarian website was prompted by The Canadian Press news story last week about the plight of Adolf Horvath, 51, who faces extradition even though Canada has declared him a person in need of protection.
One post, on the website believed to originate in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, refers to Horvath as a "an atrociously filthy Hungarian Roma-Gypsy killer," according to a notarized translation.
"This is just the proof of how bad the people are against Gypsies," said Horvath's wife, Erika. "I'm really afraid."
Horvath, who fled Hungary for Canada in 1999, argues there are real reasons he fears abuse if returned to Hungary, where he is wanted on fraud and extortion charges he maintains were trumped up.
In one attack at their home in Hungary, his wife said skinheads stabbed and beat him badly in front of her and their son Adam, 13, a Grade 8 student in Toronto, who was just 2 1/2 at the time.
The website, which frequently references the Nazis who killed thousands of Roma, branded the account of that attack as "another filthy lie."
"If this was really true, then it would have been widely publicized at the time and it would be still widely publicized by the Zionist Hungarian press," the poster wrote in calling Roma "atrociously filthy creatures."
"We will act as we have to act when the pendulum will swing backwards, and our time will come," another response says.
The news article last week, from The Canadian Press, is referred to as a "racialist, Gypsy sympathizer."
A second website also has dozens of vicious anti-Roma comments, said Horvath, 36, who has not heard from her husband since he went into hiding six weeks ago.
"When I was reading this article, honestly I was crying, I couldn't believe my eyes," she said. "This is really bad."
Horvath's family and supporters, who are appealing to both Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and the government of Hungary to put a stop to the extradition, planned to demonstrate at the Hungarian consulate in Toronto on Thursday.
Horvath fled Hungary for Canada in 1999. His wife and son were granted refugee status.
In 2004, Canadian immigration authorities decided he faced "more than a mere possibility of persecution" in Hungary, where abuse of Roma - sometimes referred to as Gypsies - has been documented by such organizations as Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department.
As a result, Canada deemed him "a person in need of protection," which would normally preclude his being returned to Hungary.
However, at Hungary's request, Nicholson decided he should be sent back to face trial.
In making his decision, Nicholson relied partly on information from then-immigration minister Monte Solberg, who concluded Horvath did face a risk of abuse in his homeland but could rely on state protection there.
The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the extradition decision last month as lawful.
The Hungarian embassy in Ottawa maintains Horvath need not fear going back because there are "no torture" cases in Hungary.