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Sep 07, 2016

Hungarian camerawoman who kicked migrants is charged

A Hungarian camerawoman who was caught tripping and kicking migrants who were fleeing police has been indicted, prosecutors have revealed.

"The accused is charged by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Szeged with breach of the peace," read a statement from Csongrad county chief prosecutor Zsolt Kopasz.

In television footage, which sparked global outrage last September, Petra László can be seen tripping up a man sprinting with a child in his arms, and kicking another child near the town of Röszke, close to the border with Serbia.

"The violent actions of the accused did not inflict injury, however her behavior was capable of provoking indignation and outcry in the members of the public present at the scenes," according to the statement.

It later emerged that László, who was fired over her actions, had been working for N1TV, an internet-based television station close to Hungary's far-right Jobbik party.

The incident occured September 8, 2015, as hundreds of migrants broke through a police line at a collection point close to the Serbian border.

According to the prosecutor, an investigation concluded that more serious charges would not be brought as there had been no reasonable chance of the accused causing injury.

Nor was there evidence that "the conduct of the accused was motivated by ethnic considerations or by the migrant status of the victims," said the statement.

Last September, thousands of migrants crossed into Hungary each day as the country, a southern gateway into the EU's passport-free Schengen zone, became a hotspot of the migration crisis.

A week after the incident, Hungarian soldiers completed the closure of the 175-kilometre-long (110-mile-long) border with a fence reinforced with razor wire.

Some 400,000 migrants passed through Hungary last year bound for western Europe, but the number plummeted after the border was sealed off.

The Syrian man allegedly tripped up by László was later given a job by a Spanish football coaching school, while his son ran with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo onto the pitch in Madrid before a match.