Hungarian former communist minister charged with war crimes for reprisals after 1956 uprising

Hungarian prosecutors say a former communist minister has been charged with war crimes related to reprisals against civilians after the anti-Soviet revolution of 1956.

Bela Biszku became interior minister and a member of the communist party's ruling interim executive committee after the October 1956 uprising was quickly crushed by Soviet forces. The committee created militias to carry out the repression, including the shooting of 49 people at two rallies in December 1956 when they indiscriminately fired into the crowds.

Budapest Chief Prosecutor Tibor Ibolya said Wednesday that Biszku's role in the repression was a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The 92-year-old Biszku is under house arrest and his trial is expected to start within three months.