Human Rights Watch report accuses security forces of beating refugees, a claim rejected by Hungary’s government.
A Hungarian camerawoman who caused global outrage after being filmed kicking and tripping up refugees near the country’s border with Serbia has been sentenced to three years’ probation for disorderly conduct.
Petra Laszlo, who appeared via video link at a court in the southern city of Szeged on Thursday, mounted a tearful defence and said she would appeal.
“It was all over within two seconds,” she said, adding she was acting out of panic and felt under attack. “Everybody was shouting, it was very frightening.”
The incident, which occurred in September 2015, went viral after footage of her actions was uploaded to Facebook.
The court was shown a frame-by-frame examination of her actions which included delivering a roundhouse-style kick to two people, including a young girl, as they fled from police.
Later, she tripped a 52-year-old Syrian refugee carrying a child.
Judge Illes Nanasi said Laszlo’s behaviour “ran counter to societal norms” and said the facts of the case did not support her self-defence claim.
“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,” he said.
Laszlo, who had earlier said she would sue one of the refugees she tripped, was fired from her job at N1TV, a private right-wing television station in Hungary.
Political tensions in Europe have been simmering over the region’s refugee crisis, although numbers have plunged by nearly two-thirds.
According to the International Organization for Migration, about 364,000 people seeking work or refugee protection crossed the Mediterranean sea in 2016, compared with more than one million in 2015.