Petra Laszlo, A Hungarian camerawoman who was caught on film kicking migrants running from police near the border with Serbia was sentenced to three years of probation.
Having claimed she received death threats after footage of her actions went viral, Petra Laszlo didn’t appear in person at Szeged District Court. Instead, she appeared via video link from an undisclosed location, arguing that she had simply been defending herself.
Footage of the incident on Sept. 8, 2015, shows Petra Laszlo working as a camerawoman for right-wing TV station N1TV. Video captured by German reporter Stephan Richter and posted on Twitter shows László kicking out at two migrants, including one young girl, as well as tripping up a Syrian refugee, Osama Abdul Mohsen, as he ran past her carrying a child.
— Stephan Richter (@RichterSteph) September 8, 2015
Judge Illes Nanasi said Laszlo’s behavior “ran counter to societal norms.”
In her defense, Laszlo said: “It was all over within two seconds. Everybody was shouting. It was very frightening.” Her lawyer Ferenc Sipos told Associated Press that while his client did not attend court because of the death threats received, she plans to appeal the sentence.
“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,” Sipos said. Three days after the incident, Laszlo issued this apology:
“I am very sorry for the incident, and as a mother I am especially sorry for the fact that fate pushed a child in my way. I did not see that at that moment. I started to panic and as I rewatch the film, it seems as it was not even me.”
Following the incident Laszlo said she was considering moving to Russia as a result of the abuse directed at her. She also threatened to sue both Facebook, for failing to remove groups threatening her on the platform, and Osama Abdul Mohsen, for allegedly changing his testimony.