The Hungarian camerawoman who gained notoriety after tripping an immigrant and his child near the Hungary-Serbia border has escaped prison for her actions and been handed a three-year suspended sentence.
Petra Laszlo kicked and tripped migrants fleeing police near the border in September 2015. A court in Szeged sentenced her on Thursday (Jan 12) to three years’ probation for a ‘breach of the peace’.
In practice this means that the court did not impose but rather postpones a penalty conditional on Laszlo staying out of trouble with the law for three years.
She testified in the court hearing by video-link, saying that she is terrified and has received death threats. She has been under police protection in an unknown location.
In her testimony Laszlo claims she was acting in self-defence, saying that in a frightened state she turned and saw hundreds of people running towards her and reacted instinctively to avoid being pushed over. She also described how her life had been “ruined” after a “hate campaign” was waged against her after the incident. Her lawyer built the defence on ‘legitimate self-defense’ although the judge questioned this, pointing out that there were no other people at the scene trying to defend themselves in this violent manner.
Prosecutors had previously said there were no grounds to charge Laszlo with a racially motivated hate crime.
The court accepted in mitigation the fact that Laszlo had no criminal record, has an under age child and her remorse after the act.
Laszlo is reportedly considering an appeal in an attempt to get the conviction overturned.
The September 2015 incident became a symbol of the unwelcome reception encountered by many migrants, many from conflict-ridden Syria fleeing to Europe. Laszlo was fired from her job at N1TV, a television station with nationalist sympathies, after video footage spread online appearing to show her kicking the running father and child.
#Badiucao, China's Banksy apparently, has done a painting of the Hungarian journo's trip, acc to
indexhu</a> <a href="https://t.co/0TVmcyI1aX">pic.twitter.com/0TVmcyI1aX</a></p>— Peter Murphy (MurphyPeterN) October 15, 2016