The Hungarian camerawoman who was filmed kicking and possibly tripping migrants along the country’s border with Serbia has been sentenced to three years’ probation for disorderly conduct.
Petra Laszlo, who appeared in the Szeged District Court by video from an undisclosed location, mounted a tearful defence and said she would appeal.
But judge Illes Nanasi said Laszlo’s behaviour “ran counter to societal norms”, and the facts of the case did not support her self-defence claim.
The incident occurred near the border town of Roszke on September 8, 2015, where Laszlo had gone to film migrants from the Middle East who were trying to pass through Hungary on their way west.
While she was filming, several migrants broke through a police cordon and jostled her as they shot by.
Laszlo responded by delivering a roundhouse-style kick to two people as they fled, including a young girl. Later, she appeared to trip a migrant carrying a child.
“It was all over within two seconds,”
Laszlo said. >”Everybody was shouting, it was very frightening.”
Her employer, the internet-based N1 TV, fired her after the incident.
The court reached its verdict after watching a frame-by-frame examination of Laszlo’s actions during the melee.
Laszlo did not appear in person because she has received death threats, her lawyer Ferenc Sipos said.
He added that she hopes to be vindicated on appeal, insisting: “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.”
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.