Hungarian camerawoman filmed tripping up and kicking Syrian refugees faces jail

Osama Abdul Mohsen carrying his son is tripped up by Petra László (Reuters/Marko Djurica)

A Hungarian camerawoman who was filmed tripping up a Syrian refugee as he ran from police carrying his young son has been charged with breaching the peace.

Petra László said her life was “ruined” by the footage, which also showed her kicking a small girl as hundreds of refugees broke through police lines near the Hungarian border to make their way towards Budapest.

László was immediately fired from right-wing online television channel N1TV when the footage went viral on the internet and now faces a prison sentence if convicted.

Zsolt Kopasz, the chief prosecutor of Csongrad County, said an investigation had determined there was no “reasonable chance” for Laszlo’s actions “to cause injury.” 

“No data emerged which would have indicated that the conduct of the accused were motivated by ethnic considerations or by the migrant status of the victims,” he added, ruling out possible charges of racially-motivated hate crime.

Prosecutors said that while filming the events of 8 September 2015 at a registration camp in Roszke, László “kicked a young man in the shin with a swift kick of the sole of her right foot, and also kicked young girl around the knee with her right foot”.

Her trial will be held in the southern city of Szeged later this year. Breach of the peace carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison under Hungarian law.

The Syrian man she tripped up, sending him and his son crashing to the ground, has since moved to Spain and been hired as a football coach in Madrid.

Osama Abdul Mohsen, also known as Osama al-Ghadab, and his family lived in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor but fled in 2013 when fighting intensified in the region.

He said he joined peaceful demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad during the 2011 Arab Spring and then had to resign from his position with the regime’s sport federation.

“I just want a better life,” he told the New York Times in an interview last year. “I just want to live peacefully with my family and my friends.”

 

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