Hungary indicts camerawoman who kicked refugees

Published by Al Jazeera
On 8 September 2016 saa 02:52
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Petra Laszlo charged with disorderly conduct after she was filmed kicking and tripping refugees fleeing police.

Hungarian prosecutors have filed charges against a camerawoman who was filmed kicking and tripping refugees fleeing police near the country’s southern border with Serbia last year.

Petra Laszlo was charged on Wednesday for disorderly conduct after "she 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", prosecutors said in a statement, according to Reuters news agency.

Prosecutors also said Laszlo had "kicked toward a man carrying a child in his hands, but the kick did not reach the man", in one of the accusations she had faced during last year’s online furore.

"The man carrying the child still fell, because... one of the policemen tried to catch and restrain him, and he lost his balance as he broke free."

According to prosecutors, there was no evidence of a racially motivated hate crime.

The incident, which occurred in September 2015, caused international outrage after footage of her actions went viral on social media.

Laszlo, who later apologised, was fired from her job at N1TV, a private right-wing television station in Hungary.

Laszlo was not immediately available for comment.

In a letter last year to Magyar Nemzet, a Hungarian daily, she had said she was acting out of panic and felt under attack.

"I am practically in shock from what I did, and what was done to me," Laszlo said.

"I am not heartless (or) racist ... I am a woman, a mother of small children, who has since lost her job,
and who made a bad decision in panic."

Laszlo’s trial will be held in the southern city of Szeged.

Political tensions in Europe have been simmering over the region’s refugee crisis.

Hungary will be holding a referendum on whether to accept European Union migrant quotas on October 2.

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The incident caused international outrage after footage of her actions went viral on social media