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Camerawoman indicted for kicking refugees

September 7, 2016

Prosecutors have accused Petra Laszlo of breaching the peace while filming refugees crossing the border into Serbia last year. Laszlo faced severe backlash after a video showing her tripping refugees went viral.

Image: Reuters/M. Djurica

In September 2015, hundreds of migrants tried to break a police cordon and cross into Serbia. Petra Laszlo, who was working for the N1TV in Hungary last year, was directly behind police officers, filming the migrants.

"While filming she kicked a young man in the shin with a swift kick of the sole of her right foot, and also kicked a young girl around the knee with her right foot," lawyers said on Wednesday. They said Laszlo had not kicked a man carrying a child in his arms, an accusation she had faced after the video was publicized on social media.

Spanien Syrien Flüchtling Osama Abdul Mohsen in Barcelona
Mohsen (left) is now working with a Spanish football clubImage: Getty Images/AFP/J. Soriano

However, the lawyers determined that there was no "reasonable chance" for Laszlo's actions "to cause injury" and that "no data emerged which could have indicated that the conduct of the accused was motivated by ethnic considerations or by the migrant status of the victims."

They also said there was no evidence of a racially motivated crime.

Laszlo was not available for comment. In an interview with the daily "Magyar Nemzet" in 2015, she said she felt remorse for what she did. "I am practically in shock from what I did and what was done to me... I am not heartless [or] racist... I am a woman, and a mother of small children, who has since lost her job and who made a bad decision in panic."

Speaking to Russian newspaper "Izvestia," she said her career had been "ruined" and she was considering a move to Russia.

The camerawoman said she felt she was under attack when refugees broke through police lines near where she was standing. The man she is accused of trying to trip was identified as Osama Abdul Mohsen, a Syrian football coach who later settled in Spain and works for a football club there.

Over 400,000 migrants passed through Hungary on their way to western Europe last year, before President Viktor Orban set up a fence to keep them out.

mg/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)