Sunday

24th Mar 2019

Hungary gives 10-year sentence to Syrian man for border riot

  • Migrants at Roszke, after Hungary erected its razor wire border fence (Photo: Freedom House)

A Syrian man was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Hungarian court on Wednesday (30 November) for his part in a riot on the border with Serbia last year.

Ahmed Hamed, 40, was handed down the longest sentence by a Hungarian court in connection with the migration crisis, and was also sentenced to be expelled from the country.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He was sentenced for throwing rocks at police in an attempt to push through the border gate, which was an "act of terror," according to Hungarian law.

The man was part of a group that crossed illegally into Hungary in September 2015 at the Roszke point. He spoke to the crowd standing at the Serbian side of the border before hundreds of migrants pushed through the border gate, while Hungarian police used water cannon and teargas to stop them.

Hamed pleaded not guilty to a charge of terrorism, and he cried as he was given his sentence.

He had lived in Cyprus for 10 years, and had an EU residency permit. He joined the more than 1 million migrants coming into Europe last year to help his parents and other relatives make their way through the Balkans into Europe from war-torn Syria.

According to Amnesty International, news footage taken at the time of the riot in September shows Hamed using a megaphone to call on both the refugees and the police to remain calm. Ahmed admitted in court that he was involved in hurling stones as clashes intensified.

Ahmed's father and mother were also arrested, and, along with eight others, were charged with illegally entering Hungary and participating in a mass riot. They spent eight months in prison in Hungary.

According to the court, Hamed was a leading figure in the riots. Among the 11 people who were detained at Roszke, only Hamed was charged with terrorism.

Hamed and his family arrived to the Hungarian border just as the country erected a fence on its Serbian border to stop the mass flow of people.

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban has been a staunch opponent of migration, being the first EU leader to erect a border fence last year, and has refused to participate in the EU's refugee relocation scheme.

On Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse in Szeged, in southern Hungary, to demand the release of Hamed and the "Roszke 11".

"The Roszke trials are show trials," the group said in a leaflet they handed out, according to Reuters.

"Throwing stones and entering a country irregularly does not constitute terrorism and cannot justify this draconian ruling," Gauri van Gulik, of Amnesty International, said in statement.

Hungary during the summer passed a constitutional amendment that grants broad powers to the government to declare a state of "terror threat emergency".

Orban: EU leaders lack will to stop migrants

Hungarian PM said European leaders lacked will to create migration plan and vowed to fight mandatory relocations, while building a fence on Romanian border.

Hungary steps up campaign on migration referendum

Hungary's government has unveiled six billboards linking the migration crisis to terrorism and crime in an effort to win backing for its referendum on the EU's migration policy.

Opinion

How the EU can make its Syria aid go further

The EU is spending hundreds of millions of euros to educate Syrian children in places such as Lebanon, but without proper auditing and benchmarks.

EU to help Libya send migrants back home

EU states aim to help Libya deport would-be migrants back home, while keeping open “all available options” on its response to Russia’s "deliberate targeting" of civilians in Syria.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us