BUDAPEST - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel has renounced a Hungarian state award he received in 2004 in protest against what he said was a "whitewashing" of the role of former Hungarian governments in the deportation of Jews during World War Two.

In a letter to Hungarian Parliament Speaker Laszlo Kover, Wiesel, 83, said he was furious that Kover had participated in a ceremony honoring a writer who was a loyal member of Hungary's WW2 far-right parliament, an act he suggested reflected the authorities' willingness to gloss over the country's dark past.

"It has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary's past, namely the wartime Hungarian governments' involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens," Wiesel wrote in his letter.

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