Hungarian Camerawoman Who Tripped Refugees Gets Three-Year Suspended Sentence

Petra Laszlo - H 2015

The judge rejected Petra Laszlo's claim that she acted in self-defense.

Petra Laszlo, a Hungarian camerawoman who caused controversy after kicking and tripping refugees as they fled from police near the Hungary-Serbia border in September 2015, was on Thursday given a three-year suspended sentence for disorderly conduct.

Laszlo, who appeared at the Thursday hearing at Szeged district court via video link, was seen crying on occasion while giving her testimony and mentioned her "terrible fear" since the incident.

The judge rejected Laszlo's contention that she acted in self-defense, saying that the video of the incident did not support her testimony.

In addition to the three-year suspended sentence, she was ordered to pay a fine of 53,000 forints, or $183.

The incident happened while Laszlo was filming a report for NTV1, a Hungarian television news station with links to the country's right-wing political party Jobbik, known for opposing immigration.

A German reporter who was also covering the story of Syrian refugees desperately pouring across the Hungarian border with Serbia as police tried to stop them, caught the incident on camera, and footage of it went viral on Facebook and other social media.

An international outcry followed and Laszlo was fired by NTV1. She subsequently said she was going to sue Facebook and Osama Abdul Mohsen, a Syrian refugee who fell to the ground alongside his child after she tripped him. She never filed the threatened lawsuits.

Laszlo's lawyer says she plans to appeal the sentence.