Hungarian camerawoman who kicked refugees including children being investigated by police
Hungary has been shaken by a brief video taken at its border with Serbia that shows a camerawoman for Hungary's N1TV station kicking young refugee boys and girls and tripping a refugee carrying a child as they make their way through a Hungarian Police cordon. Other journalists captured the camerawoman's behavior on film.
Camerawoman Petra László subsequently ended up being denounced on social networking sites and has lost her job at the station, which is close to the nationalist Jobbik party. "Many Syrians have no homes, and some Europeans have no hearts," Hungarian journalist Szabolcs Panyi said of the scandal.
The Editor-in-Chief of N1TV announced he had immediately fired László for "unacceptable behavior" and considers the case settled. Opposition parties, however, announced they were filing a criminal report against the camerawoman for which she could face up to five years behind bars if convicted.
The incident happened Tuesday evening in the border town of Röszke, where migrants cross the Serbian-Hungarian border by walking along the highway or railroad tracks and have been ending up in a refugee camp approximately 200 kilometers from Belgrade and 170 kilometers from Budapest. Hungarian Police have since interrogated László.
The Hungarian wire service MTI reports that police in Budapest posted to their website on Thursday night that she had been interrogated as a suspect but was not in custody. The case was taken up on Thursday by the state prosecutor from the Hungarian county of Csongrád.
Sándor Törő said he had received several complaints that a woman working for N1TV around the refugee camp near Röszke had physically assaulted several migrants, including children. Video footage of the camerawoman's behavior was rapidly disseminated online.
László has apologized for kicking the refugees. In a letter published by the daily Magyar Nemzet, she wrote that she is not a "heartless racist".
The camerawoman claims to have panicked when the refugees began running all around her. "I felt I was being attacked and had to defend myself. I panicked," she wrote.
"I'm sorry," her letter says. "Now I'm an unemployed mother of young children."
Democratic Coalition and Dialogue for Hungary, both opposition parties, filed criminal reports against the camerawoman. The media have also discovered that the refugee whom she tripped was once the trainer of Syria's premier league football team.
According to Euronews, the man is the former trainer of the footballers in the premier league team Al-Fotuwa SC from Deir ez-Zor, who won the National Cup four times in a row at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s and who were twice Syrian champions in the 1990s. Several reports say that trainer Osama Abdul Mohsen joined the first protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and was later tortured by his regime; Islamic State extremists are now operating in the Deir ez-Zor area.
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