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Camerawoman Who Kicked Migrants on Hungarian Border Gets Probation

by Alastair Jamieson /  / Updated  / Source: Associated Press
Image: Abdul Mohsen and TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo
Abdul Mohsen, carrying his son, falls after encountering TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo near Roszke, Hungary, on Sept. 8, 2015.MARKO DJURICA / Reuters, file

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A camerawoman who was filmed kicking migrants has been sentenced to three years' probation for disorderly conduct.

Petra Laszlo, who gained worldwide notoriety after the Sept. 8, 2015 incident, told a Hungarian court she became frightened when migrants broke through a police line and rushed forward, jostling members of the media.

The incident occurred near Hungary’s border with Serbia, as thousands of migrants from the Middle East and beyond were traveling on their way to western Europe.

Image: Abdul Mohsen and TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo
Abdul Mohsen, carrying his son, falls after encountering TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo near Roszke, Hungary, on Sept. 8, 2015.MARKO DJURICA / Reuters, file

"It was all over within two seconds," Laszlo said. "Everybody was shouting. It was very frightening."

However, Judge Illes Nanasi said her behavior "ran counter to societal norms" and said the facts of the case did not support her self-defense claim.

Laszlo, who subsequently fired by internet-based N1 TV, was in tears as she addressed the court via a remote video link on Thursday.

She said she had received death threats after the incident and feared for her safety, Hungary news site Index reported.

The court carried out a frame-by-frame examination of Laszlo's actions during the 2015 melee, and found she had kicked a young girl and an older boy.

However, it couldn’t establish for certain that she was responsible for tripping Syrian soccer coach Abdul Mohsen, who was later offered a job at a Spanish sports academy.

Laszlo hopes to be cleared on appeal, her attorney, Ferenc Sipos, told The Associated Press.

"It is not a crime if somebody acts to defend herself ... she was in danger, and she tried to avert this danger with her actions," he said.

Nearly 400,000 migrants and refugees passed through Hungary in 2015. The flow slowed to a trickle after Prime Minister Viktor Orban ordered razor-wire fences to be built along Hungary's southern border and beefed up laws to prevent illegal border crossings.

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