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Hungary’s Refugee-Kicking Camerawoman Could Be Headed To Russia

  • Tom Balmforth

The incident provoked international outrage.

The incident provoked international outrage.

MOSCOW -- The Hungarian TV camerawoman who was sacked after she was caught on video kicking and tripping fleeing refugees, including a man carrying a small boy, has said she is considering moving to Russia once her criminal trial in connection with the incident concludes.

Petra Laszlo faces hooliganism charges in Hungary that carry up to three years jail, but the mother of two said her lawyer has told her she should walk free with an 18-month suspended sentence.

She was quoted by the Russian media as saying that when court proceedings end, she and her family intend to leave the country.

“We are considering Russia and are thinking about starting to learn Russian. It’s important for us to leave Hungary now. We’ll decide after the trial,” Laszlo told the staunchly pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper.

Laszlo was vilified across the world when video footage posted online in September depicted her kicking refugees, including a young girl, as they fled a camp in Hungary during the ongoing refugee crisis gripping Europe.

WATCH: Camerawoman kicks refugees

Laszlo worked for N1TV, a local TV station linked to the far-right anti-immigration party Jobbik, but was sacked after the scandal.

She told Izvestia that she kicked the child out of self-defense.

“The refugees were running in my direction -- it was scary," she said. "They started pushing me. That was the only reason I kicked one of the refugees. So that they didn’t push me. It was my defensive reaction.”

“I didn’t see it was a child,” Laszlo added. “I regret that this happened like this. My mistake is that I stayed to keep filming and didn’t run away.”

Laszlo also told Izvestia that she intends to stay in Hungary to sue Facebook for allegedly deleting groups supporting her on the California-based social network, while leaving untouched other groups, some of which, she claims, call for her death.

She said she also intends to take to court the refugee whom she tripped while he was holding his small son, saying the man “changed” his account of the incident.

“My husband wants to prove my innocence,” Izvestia quoted Laszlo as saying. “For him it is now a matter of honor.”

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    Tom Balmforth

    Tom Balmforth covers Russia and other former Soviet republics. He can be reached at balmfortht@rferl.org

     

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