Petra Laszlo believed she was in immediate danger when she kicked two Syrian refugee children and tripped a Syrian refugee man. The Hungarian camera operator was filmed as she was filming the migrants behind a police cordon.
“The camera was shooting, hundreds of migrants broke through the police cordon, one of them rushed to me and I was scared,” Petra Laszlo wrote in a letter to the rightwing daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet.
— HuffPostUK Politics (@HuffPostUKPol) September 11, 2015
“Then something snapped in me…I just thought that I was attacked and I have to protect myself. It’s hard to make good decisions at a time when people are in a panic.”
Petra Laszlo added that she was willing to take responsibility for her actions, and proceeded to further defend her actions.
“I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman. I do not deserve the political witch-hunts against me, nor the smears or the death threats,” she wrote.
“I’m just an unemployed mother of small children, who made a bad decision. I am truly sorry.”
— POLITICO (@politico) September 12, 2015
Petra Laszlo was fired by Hungarian nationalist television channel N1TV after the video footage of her kicking the refugees appeared on Twitter. A reporter from German television channel RTL–Stephen Richter–posted it on Twitter.
On Thursday, Hungarian prosecutors said they were opening a criminal case for breach of peace against Laszlo.
“In the course of the investigation, the authorities will also examine if more serious crimes…can be established,” Sandor Toro, who is the deputy chief prosecutor of Csongrád county, said.
The incident involving Petra Laszlo occurred on the Hungarian-Serbian border. Hundreds of migrants have crossed the border in this region every day for about a month.
Do you think legal action should be taken against Petra Laszlo? Do you believe her account of what happened?