Hungarian journalist apologises for tripping Syrian football coach

Hungarian journalist apologises for tripping Syrian football coach
The Syrian refugee who was tripped by a Hungarian journalist while carrying his son was named as Osama al-Abd al-Mohsen, former coach of Syrian Premier League football team al-Futuwa SC.
3 min read
11 September, 2015
Mohsen, a Syrian refugee carrying his son, is tripped by Laszlo [Facebook: Almuhannad Abdullmhseen]

Petra Laszlo, a Hungarian journalist, has apologised after a video clip - showing her tripping up a Syrian refugee who was carrying his son - was viewed millions of times after being shared extensively on social media. A second clip showed her lashing out and kicking a young girl.

The trip, causing a man named Osama al-Abd al-Mohsen to tumble to the ground after he broke through a police line near Roeszke refugee camp on Hungary's border with Serbia, was condemned around the world.

"I honestly regret what happened... I am practically in shock from what I did, and what was done to me," Laszlo wrote in a letter posted on the website of the newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

"I am not a heartless, racist camera woman who would kick children... I am a woman, a mother of small children, who has since lost her job, and who made a bad decision in a panic."

What has since emerged is that the man was not homeless in his country, coming to Europe to take advantage of the welfare system - as some anti-refugee movements claimed.

Mohsen was a former coach of al-Futuwa, a professional football team playing in Syria's Premier League in Deir ez-Zor. He had been sacked from his position on the Syrian Sports Federation for Football in 2012 for politically supporting the Syrian revolution.

Osama with his son. Posted on Twitter by Conflict News (@Conflicts)

"Osama was a member of the Sports Federation for Football, but he had to leave his post at the beginning of the Syrian revolution and worked as a coach for al-Futuwa club in Deir ez-Zor and was arrested by the [Syrian] Air Force Intelligence branch in 2011," said Samir al-Ani, a media activist and Mohsen's friend.

"Mr Osama belongs to a well-known family in Deir ez-Zor and he took part in the revolution's demonstrations since the first demonstration in the city. There is no doubt that difficult circumstances had led him to look for refuge [in Europe] with his younger son Zaid, and these circumstances are part of the general case of hopelessness that most Syrians are experiencing," Ani added.

"The Hungarian journalist is not the only one guilty of the incident, but also the international community who did not remove Assad from office - despite all that he's doing, and the Arab states who impose laws that hinder Syrians from taking refuge there and finding the sea to be their only outlet."

It has been also reported that a criminal case has been opened against Laszlo.

Many refugees have been trying to get into Europe to escape war-torn countries, passing through countries such as Hungary where they are confronted by security services and treated in what many have described as an inhumane way.

Another video that has shocked many viewers shows Hungarian police throwing food at desperate crowds of refugees.

Video published on Twitter by Stephen Richter (@RichterSteph)