Budapest, Hungary – On Tuesday, Hungary’s Supreme court acquitted journalist Petra Lazslo over a highly mediatized incident that occurred three years ago at the Hungarian-Serbian border.
In September 2015, at the peak of the refugee crisis, the Hungarian television camera operator caused outrage after she tripped a man, running with a child in his arms, and kicked another child near the border with Serbia. They were part of a large group of migrants that had broken through police line at the border and were fleeing from law-enforcement officers.
The camerawoman later apologized for her actions and claimed that “something snapped” in her and that she panicked. She was nonetheless fired shortly after the incident by N1TV, an online television channel with close ties to Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, after footage of the incident was posted on Twitter by a German RTL reporter who was also on the scene.
On Tuesday, Hungary’s high court, the Kuria, revised the rulings of two lowers courts and ruled that “the video reporter was acquitted owing to the lack of violation”. Judges considered she had not been correctly charged by lower courts and deemed that Laszlo’s act, “while morally incorrect and illicit, was a disruption, not vandalism”, pointing to the context of “an assault by several hundred migrants fleeing a police intervention”. Laszlo had been sentenced to three years probation in January 2017 by lower courts.
The Guardian reports that “the Syrian father who she tripped and his son obtained asylum in Spain”. A former coach for al-Fotuwa, a first-division football team in Syria’s eastern city of Deir Ezzor, the man finally “landed a job with a football coaching school and his son ran with Cristiano Ronaldo onto the pitch in Madrid before a match”.