A Budapest court rejected in a non-binding ruling a lawsuit filed against the government by a Syrian migrant seeking compensation for what he says were a violation of his personality rights in a 2017 government survey on public attitudes to migration. Ahmed H. spent 40 months in prison for inciting a riot in Sept 2015 on the Hungary-Serbia border. He was sentenced to five years in prison in a repeat procedure last year for illegally crossing the border as part of a rioting crowd and throwing objects at police, which the court regarded as complicity in terrorist activities. He filed a lawsuit against the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office saying that the government’s 2017 “national consultation” survey on the “Soros plan” referred to him directly and gave the impression he had already been convicted when the court had not yet passed a final ruling. Ahmed H. sought 8 million forints (EUR 25,300) in damages. He was absent from the announcement of the ruling by the Municipal Court of Budapest.
In its justification, the court said that though the government had indeed failed to clarify in the survey that Ahmed H. had only been sentenced until that point by a first-instance court, this was a negligible disadvantage for the plaintiff. The ruling added that Ahmed H. had not denied that he had thrown objects at police officers, which constitutes a crime. The court concluded that Ahmed H.’s lawsuit lacked legal merit. Ahmed H. is currently awaiting expulsion from Hungary in an immigration detention facility.
Csaba Dömötör, the state secretary of the Cabinet Office, said in response to the ruling that the government will have to keep fighting against “the business of migration”. He told the government’s portal kormany.hu that Friday’s ruling indicated that “reality and facts can’t be denied”. Dömötör said it was not the Hungarian government, but rather Ahmed H. who had tarnished his own reputation by committing a crime.