Family of Refugees Kicked and Tripped by Hungarian Journalist Tell Their Story


Sitting in a rented apartment in Turkey, not too far from his hometown Deir ez-Zor, in eastern Syria, 19-year-old Mohanad could not believe what he saw on TV: His father, Osama Abdul Mohsen, and youngest brother, Zeid, were being kicked and tripped by a Hungarian journalist, Petra László.

The video was broadcast on numerous Arab and international TV channels. László’s attack apparently intended to keep Mohanad’s family, and many other refugees, from escaping the police, who were attempting to stop them from crossing the border toward the promised land: Germany.

Mohanad told HuffPost Arabi in a phone conversation that since being shot in September 2012, he hadn’t experienced such a profound moment of weakness. He was distraught to see the fear on his brother’s face, and to hear his father’s cries of agony, as László, who was there to cover the fleeing of hundreds of refugees from the police, assaulted him.

A German journalist caught László’s attack on video. Her behavior was met with worldwide outrage.

The Hungarian Internet-based channel, N1TV, which employed László, was forced to fire her, despite its close ties to Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, which is known for its anti-immigration views.

“An N1TV colleague today behaved in an unacceptable way at the Roszke collection point,” N1TV’s Editor-in-Chief Szabolcs Kisberk said in a statement shortly after the incident. “The camerawoman’s employment contract has been terminated with immediate effect as of today, we consider the matter closed.”

“I believe we have done what we what we had to do in this situation. We don’t understand how could this happen, it is shocking and unacceptable,” Kisberk added.

Hungarian prosecutors announced on Thursday that a criminal case for breach of peace has been opened against Laszlo.

Mohanad mourns his inability to be by his father’s side during such difficult times. He remembers fleeing to Damascus years earlier when Deir ez-Zor was bombed and besieged by the regime.

When Mohanad moved to Damascus with his family, Osama stayed in Deir ez-Zor. “He used to visit us every fortnight, to make sure we were okay. Then he would go back to Deir ez-Zor, facing all kinds of challenges along the way, since he was wanted by security forces,” Mohanad said.

Mohanad said his father worked as a facilities manager in Deir ez-Zor, before he was forced to resign, following clashes that broke out between the Syrian regime and the opposition.

After receiving treatment in Damascus for his leg wound, Mohanad left with his family to the city of Al-Raqqah. They stayed there for three months before leaving for Turkey. Osama joined his family in Turkey after Islamic State militants took Deir ez-Zor.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The Huffington Post, Hadeel Arja