In a non-binding sentence on Wednesday, the Szeged court of justice sentenced Ahmed H., a Syrian man, to seven years in prison for illegal border crossing and complicity in “acts of terror” during a riot of migrants at the Serbia-Hungary border in September 2015.
Probation is possible only after he has served at least two thirds of the prison sentence. Ahmed H was also expelled from Hungary for 10 years.
In his argumentation, Judge Jeno Kobor said that files on his phone proved Ahmed H had known of the border seal and that crossing or damaging the fence is a crime. There is audio footage of him calling on the crowd to back off from the fence, and no evidence of him giving ultimatums of shouting threats, the judge said. However, there is video footage of him throwing stones at the police officers, he said.
The procedure held in the southern Hungarian city was a retrial after a judge ruled that available evidence had not been assessed properly in the first trial.
The prosecutor, Ferenc Szanka, proposed a sentence of just under seventeen and a half years and permanent expulsion from Hungary.
Ahmed H’s defence lawyer told the court it should consider charges of attempted violence against an official rather than terrorism. He also noted the defendant had served a substantial length of time in pre-trial detention and this should be considered as time served. Peter Barandy insisted the defendant had thrown stones at police on the Hungarian border “out of desperation” and in a state of restricted judgement.
The prosecution appealed for a graver, the defence for a lighter sentence. The court ruled that Ahmed H should remain in custody.
Source and photo: MTI