Hungary: Syrian man’s conviction for alleged ‘complicity in an act of terror’ is travesty of justice

 

Responding to the conviction of Ahmed H, a Syrian man prosecuted for committing an alleged “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian police at the Serbia-Hungary border in September 2016, Eda Seyhan, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Counter-Terrorism in Europe, said:

“Today’s verdict reflects the dangerous confluence of Hungary’s draconian counter-terrorism laws and its merciless crackdown on refugees and migrants. Ahmed’s conviction on these charges should be quashed on appeal and he should be released without delay.”

Today’s verdict reflects the dangerous confluence of Hungary’s draconian counter-terrorism laws and its merciless crackdown on refugees and migrants
Eda Seyhan, Amnesty International

“Ahmed H, who was simply trying to help his family flee Syria, has been unjustly demonized both inside and outside the courtroom. None of the evidence against Ahmed constitutes “an act of terror” and his conviction is a blatant misuse of terrorism-related provisions.

“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.”

None of the evidence against Ahmed constitutes “an act of terror” and his conviction is a blatant misuse of terrorism-related provisions
Eda Seyhan, Amnesty International

Ahmed H was convicted for “complicity in an act of terror” and “illegal entry as part of a mass riot” and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and expulsion from Hungary for 10 years.

Background

In August 2015, Ahmed left his family home in Cyprus to go and help his elderly parents and six other family members flee Syria and find safety in Europe. One month later, they found themselves among hundreds of refugees stranded at the Hungarian border after police fenced off the crossing with Serbia.

Clashes broke out as some refugees attempted to get through. Hungary’s police responded with tear gas and water cannon, injuring dozens. Some people threw stones, including Ahmed. But news footage also clearly shows Ahmed using a megaphone to call on both sides to remain calm.

For this, a Hungarian court found him guilty of an “act of terror”, under Hungary’s extremely broad and vague counter-terrorism laws, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison in November 2016. In June 2017, an appeals court ordered that the case be retried.

 

For a video on Ahmed’s case visit https://youtu.be/UweFfo6Sgqs