Hungary sentences refugee to seven years for 'terror'

Hungary sentences refugee to seven years for 'terror'
From Al Jazeera - March 14, 2018

A Hungarian court has convicted a Syrian refugee of "complicity in an act of terror" and given him a sentence of seven years imprisonment and a 10-year expulsion from Hungary.

The refugee, referred to as Ahmed H in court proceedings, was also convicted on Wednesdayof "illegal entry as part of a mass riot".

The charges stem from an incident on the Hungary-Serbia border in 2015, when a group of asylum seekers tried to enter EU territory at the Roszke crossing near the Hungarian city of Szeged.

"After more than two-and-a-half years behind bars, this absurd decision comes as a devastating blow for Ahmed, his wife, and his two young daughters," Eda Seyhan, Amnesty International's campaigner on counter-terrorism in Europe, said in an email to Al Jazeera.

At the time of the incident, Ahmed H, 41, was accompanying his elderly parents on their route from Syria to the EU at the peak of the 2015 refugee crisis. Hungary had tightened border controls to block incoming refugees.

Stone throwing

Ahmed H - a legal resident of Cyprus - was previously convicted of "terrorism" charges in 2016 for throwing stones at police officers at the border crossing. A retrial was ordered in June after an appeals court decided that not all evidence was considered. It began in January.

Evidence at the retrial consisted mostly of videos and testimony from security officers on the border at the time of the incident.

Video showed Ahmed H telling police with a megaphone that asylum seekers "came in peace" and would not hurt officers during a tense standoff between refugees and Hungarian authorities.

Eventually, Hungarian police responded with tear gas and a water cannon. Many of the asylum seekers then threw objects, including rocks, at the officers.

'Ahmed H is a terrorist'


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