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Hungary court acquits 'morally incorrect' journalist who kicked refugees

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Supreme court rules Petra László was incorrectly charged over 2015 incident on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

A Hungarian television camera operator who made headlines in 2015 after allegedly tripping and kicking migrants fleeing police has been acquitted by the country’s supreme court.

“The video reporter was acquitted owing to the lack of a violation,” a court statement said on Tuesday, after judges ruled that Petra László had not been correctly charged by lower courts.

László caused outcry in September 2015 when she tripped a man who was running with a child in his arms, and kicked another child near the town of Röszke, close to the border with Serbia.

Europe was in the midst of a wave of migration during which a large group had broken through a Hungarian police line.

The supreme court said it considered the context of “an assault by several hundred migrants fleeing a police intervention”.

It deemed that László’s act, “while morally incorrect and illicit, was a disruption, not vandalism”. That was the charge brought against her in lower courts, for which she was sentenced in January 2017 to three years probation.

The camerawoman, who was fired over her actions, had been working for N1TV, an internet-based television station close to Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party.

“I turned and saw several hundred people charging toward me, it was quite incredibly frightening,” she said.

The Syrian father who she tripped and his son obtained asylum in Spain, where the father landed a job with a football coaching school and his son ran with Cristiano Ronaldo onto the pitch in Madrid before a match.

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