Ahead of the appeal against a 10-year sentence handed down to a Syrian man for committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.
The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., was convicted in November. Ahmed admitted to throwing three objects at the Hungarian police during the clashes.
“The conviction of Ahmed H was a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions against a man who was helping his family flee Syria,” said Todor Gardos, Amnesty International’s Hungary researcher.
“This absurd verdict reflects the febrile atmosphere in Hungary where anti-terror powers have been ramped up amid a crackdown on the rights of migrants. Ahmed’s actions cannot credibly constitute an act of terrorism and his conviction should bequashed.”
Follow Amnesty International’s researchers@todorgardos and @demeteraaronfor updates.
The passing of a law stigmatising non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding is the latest in an escalating crackdown on critical voices and will hamper critically important work by civil society groups, said Amnesty international.
The Law on the transparency of organizations funded from abroad will force NGOs receiving more than 24,000 EUR direct or indirect funding from abroad to re-register as “civic organization funded from abroad” and to put this pejorative label on every publication.
“Threadbare attempts to disguise this law as being necessary to protect national security cannot hide its real purpose: to stigmatize, discredit and intimidate critical NGOs and hamper their vital work,” said said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.
“This latest assault on civil society is aimed at silencing critical voices within the country, has ominous echoes of Russian’s draconian ‘foreign agents’ law, and is a dark day for Hungary.”
Responding to the Hungarian Parliament’s adoption of a set of amendments allowing for the automatic detention of all asylum seekers while their applications are processed, Gauri Van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:
“Plans to automatically detain some of the world’s most vulnerable people in shipping containers behind razor wire fences, sometimes for months on end, are beyond the pale. This new border detention package is just the latest in Hungary’s aggressive crackdown on refugees and migrants.”
“These measures will even be applied to children, a flagrant violation of international and European law. It will also enable refugees to be forcibly returned to Serbia without due process. We are urging the EU to step up and show Hungary that such illegal and deeply inhumane measures have consequences. Dumping all refugees and migrants into containers isn't a refugee policy - it’s avoiding one.”
In response to the sentencing of Ahmed H, to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges for his involvement in clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director who attended the court hearing said:
“This verdict is based on a blatant misuse of anti-terror laws and reflects a disturbing confluence of two dangerous trends: the misuse of terrorism related offenses and the appalling treatment of refugees and migrants.”
“A father, who was trying to help his elderly Syrian parents reach safety now faces 10 years in prison. Throwing stones and entering a country irregularly does not constitute terrorism and cannot justify this draconian ruling. Ahmed H’s terrorism verdict should be quashed on appeal."
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Ahead of the expected verdict in the trial of a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.
The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., could face a life sentence if found guilty. His elderly parents were convicted previously of unlawful entry and mass rioting, in relation to the same incident at the Röszke border crossing in September 2015.
“This trial is symptomatic of the Hungarian government’s vilification of people seeking protection in Europe,” said Kartik Raj, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner.
Released 00.01 27 September 2016 CETDenial of effective access to asylum & degrading treatment Anti-refugee rhetoric reaching “fever pitch” ahead of referendum Prime minister Orbán throws down dangerous gauntlet to the EU
Thousands of asylum-seekers – including unaccompanied children – are suffering violent abuse, illegal push backs and unlawful detention at the hands of Hungary’s authorities and a system blatantly designed to deter them, Amnesty International has revealed in a new report.
Stranded hope: Hungary’s sustained attack on the rights of refugees and migrants, published against the backdrop of the toxic referendum campaign on refugee quotas, finds hundreds of asylum-seekers are left waiting for months in degrading conditions. Many of those who manage to get into Hungary are pushed back to Serbia or detained unlawfully in detention centres.
As the trial begins today of Ahmed H., a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards on the Serb-Hungarian border last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews. Amnesty International’s Balkans researcher, Todor Gordos said today:
“The use of anti-terror powers to target an asylum seeker involved in clashes on the border is an absurd and chilling demonstration of Hungary’s sledgehammer response to the refugee crisis.”
“I witnessed the alleged “mass attack” by migrants at the Roszke border and what we documented were chaotic and desperate scenes, sporadic acts of violence and the excessive use of force by police and border guards.”
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On 26 April, the Hungarian government tabled a package of measures, including a “sixth amendment” to the Constitution (Magyarország Alaptörvénye, the Fundamental Law of Hungary) and to laws governing the police, national security services and defence forces, to streamline the process to call a state of emergency in the country. The package of measures, which would grant the Executive overly broad counter-terrorism powers with wide scope for restricting human rights, are under debate in the Hungarian Parliament this week.
Released 00:01 BST Thursday 8 September 2015
The Hungarian government has invested more than 1OO million euros on razor-wire fencing and border controls to keep refugees and migrants out, triple the amount it spends yearly on receiving asylum seekers, Amnesty International revealed in a new briefing published today.
The briefing, Fenced Out, outlines how Hungary’s draconian measures to control its borders have repeatedly violated international law. As EU ministers gather in Luxembourg today for high-level meetings to discuss the crisis, Amnesty International is calling on the EU to hold Hungary to account for its human rights failures and to protect people on the move by creating safer, legal routes before winter hits.
“Hungary is a few razor-wire coils away from completely sealing off its borders with Croatia and Serbia. Even those that do manage to squeeze through the key-hole are almost certain to be returned to Balkan countries of transit,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Director for Europe and Central Asia.
By Eliza Goroya in Kos, Greece and Khairunissa Dhala and Lorna Hayes in Berlin, Germany.
From Greece to Germany, volunteers are joining forces to help newly-arrived refugees and migrants get food, clothes and medical attention - plugging glaring gaps in the EU’s broken asylum system while Europe’s leaders still grapple for a common solution to the growing crisis.
“There was this Syrian family: a father with a small girl. She tried to open the door of my car. I thought she must be after the food, so I asked her father what they need. ‘You have the same car as us,’ he responded, ‘but ours exploded back in Syria. Her mother died in it.’
“And then I understood what the little girl was looking for."
Konstantinos, a volunteer, looks away as he shares this story with me. Locals on the Greek island of Kos call him 'The Hardcore One', because he juggles two jobs with daily deliveries of food, supplies and support for refugees.
New satellite images obtained by Amnesty International give a chilling new perspective on Hungary's frenzied efforts to repel refugees and asylum-seekers this week.
The organization said they serve as a warning to Croatia, Slovenia and other countries currently considering closing their borders to thousands of people seeking protection.
“The shocking scenes from the ground this week at the Horgoš-Röszke border crossing have shown the human toll of Hungary's irresponsible actions. These images give a deeper sense of the speed and scale of Hungary’s operation to seal its borders, which culminated in a dire situation for refugees and asylum-seekers left in limbo,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director.
One pair of images from 13 and 15 September starkly illustrate how sealing the border crossing near Horgoš in Serbia and Röszke in Hungary on 15 September quickly resulted in a bottleneck of trapped people seeking entry to Hungary and the European Union.
At least nine people including at least four children separated from their families by Hungarian police during the breach of a border fence in Röszke must be immediately released and reunited with their families, said Amnesty International today. Their exact whereabouts is unknown but they are thought to have been taken to a nearby border control building.
By effectively closing its border to refugees and meeting those fleeing conflict and persecution with razor wire, troops and draconian new laws, Hungary is showing the ugly face of Europe’s shambolic response to the growing refugee crisis, said Amnesty International today.
The organization has deployed a team of researchers to the Hungary-Serbia border where dozens of soldiers, riot police, dogs and helicopters are patrolling a newly completed razor wire fence. Under new laws which come into force today refugees who attempt to break through could be jailed for up to three years.
“For refugees fleeing from terrifying conflict zones to be met by such an intimidating show of militarised force is shocking, and a woefully irresponsible response to people already traumatized by war and brutality,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe. “While thousands more are expected to make their way to Hungary, this ‘raise the drawbridge’ mentality will simply redirect, but not put an end to, desperate and dangerous journeys.”
The shocking images of scores of refugees and asylum-seekers being thrown food by Hungarian police at a registration centre in Roszke underscores the deplorable conditions facing those being held by the Hungarian authorities, said Amnesty International today.
The organization is calling for human rights monitors to be granted immediate access to all centres and facilities housing refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants who have recently arrived in Hungary.
“The image of refugees and asylum-seekers clamouring for food as the police throw parcels of food is truly sickening,” said Barbora Cernusakova, a researcher for Amnesty International.
“Human rights monitors must be given immediate access to registration centres, and every effort must be made to improve the conditions in which refugees and asylum-seekers are held.”
Amnesty International staff were refused access to the registration centre in Roszke, Hungary which is featured in the youtube video (see below) which gained global media attention today.