Italian teacher held in Hungary for alleged assault released after being elected MEP

BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Italian anti-fascist activist Ilaria Salis was released from house arrest in Budapest after she was elected a member of the European Parliament (MEP) at the weekend, her lawyer Gyorgy Magyar told Reuters on Friday.

Members of the European Parliament hold strong legal immunity from prosecution, even if the allegations relate to offences allegedly committed before their election.

The 39-year-old teacher was charged last year in Hungary with taking part in an anti-fascist group's assaults on people they viewed as far-right activists. Salis and her family have said she is innocent.

The Budapest-Capital Regional Court will ask the European Parliament to suspend Salis' immunity as she is accused of violent crimes and her case is ongoing, the court said in a statement on Friday.

Police have removed the electronic bracelet from Salis' ankle, her lawyer said. Salis' father was expected to arrive in Budapest later on Friday to take her back to Italy, Magyar added.

Salis has been held in Hungary for more than a year in a case that prompted the Italian Green and Left Alliance to nominate her among their candidates at the European ballot.

"This is not a really positive picture of Italian democracy," Gergely Gulyas, chief of staff for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said on Thursday at a press briefing about Salis' election.

"It does not mean a lot of good either for the European Parliament or the voters who decided to send a criminal to the parliament," Gulyas said.

Salis has not been convicted and her case is pending.

The case drew outrage in Italy in February, after she was led into court with her feet and hands bound and a chain around her waist.

The issue is politically sensitive due to the longstanding ties between Italy's right-wing prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, and Orban.

(Reporting by Anita Komuves; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Alex Richardson and Rod Nickel)