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Hungary To Expel Iranian Students For Alleged Breaches Of Quarantine

Hungary has been implementing measures to tackle the coronavirus lockdown since last month. (file photo)

Hungary says it will begin expelling 14 Iranian students on April 16 for alleged violations of coronavirus quarantine rules.

The Iranians "displayed blatantly antisocial, violent behavior" while under quarantine in a Budapest hospital last month, police Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kiss said on April 15.

Eleven of the students are to be expelled on April 16; the other three are to be sent home on April 23, Kiss said at a news briefing.

The expulsions follow complaints by the Hungarian Health Ministry accusing them of leaving their hospital rooms without permission and without protective clothing. They refused to return to their rooms, loudly demonstrated their dissatisfaction, and behaved aggressively toward medical staff, the ministry said.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), a rights group that represents one of the students, has called Budapest’s accusations about its client "absurd.”

The 33-year-old pharmacy student was put in hospital quarantine on March 7 and given an expulsion order within a week despite obeying the rules, according to HHC. Her appeal against deportation to Iran was then rejected by a Budapest court on April 8.

The HHC said in an earlier statement that all the students later proved to have no symptoms of COVID-19.

A spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Abbas Mousavi, told Iranian media last week that the expulsion decisions were "deeply regrettable."

Hungary, which has a population of almost 10 million, has recorded some 1,600 COVID-19 infections and 134 deaths, according to a database maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

On March 30, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was granted emergency powers indefinitely by the Hungarian parliament to tackle the pandemic and its impact.

Based on reporting by AFP.