Ahmed H, the Syrian migrant who spent 40 months in prison for inciting a riot in 2015 on the Hungary-Serbia border, will remain in detention until Hungary can reach an agreement with Cyprus, where he had lived before his arrest, on sending him back there, the government spokesman said on Friday.
“The Hungarian government will not allow a terrorist to be set free in Hungary’s territory,” István Hollik told a press conference, arguing that Ahmed H was a threat to the safety of Hungarians.
The Syrian migrant 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.
Hollik noted that he will be released from prison on Jan. 19 after serving two-thirds of his term, taking into account time spent in pre-trial detention.
“Given that he poses a threat to the safety of the Hungarian people,” Hollik said, “the decision has been made to expel him from the country.” But under international treaties, he can only be expelled if another country is ready to take him in.
The government has reached out to Cyprus to discuss sending Ahmed H back there, given that he had lived in Cyprus prior to his arrest in Hungary, Hollik said. Until the two countries reach an agreement on this, Ahmed H will remain in detention, he added.
Asked about the migrant’s pending civil lawsuit against the prime minister’s cabinet office, Hollik dismissed it as a “paid campaign” by organisations linked to US billionaire George Soros.
Ahmed H is suing the PM’s cabinet office saying a 2017 government survey on public attitudes to migration referred to him directly and gave the impression he had already been convicted when the court had not yet produced a final ruling.
The Municipal Court of Budapest is scheduled to give its verdict on the lawsuit on Feb. 1.
Featured image: MTI