In 2016, a Syrian man and his brother fled across a river from Serbia to Hungary. When trying to come ashore, border guards react with violence. The brother does not survive the escape. The Human Rights Court blames Hungary - and condemns the country.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has sentenced Hungary in connection with the death of a refugee. The judges in Strasbourg decided that Hungary would have to pay almost 40,000 euros in damages. A Syrian man who, together with his brother and other refugees, including a family with three children, wanted to cross the Tisza River from Serbia to Hungary by boat in 2016 had contacted the ECtHR. They were helped by smugglers.
The plaintiff stated that Hungarian border guards wanted to push them back to Serbia. They used tear gas and threw stones, and police dogs were let loose on the fugitive when he tried to go to shore. His brother drowned trying to swim back to the Serbian shore. Hungary denied this account.
The man alleged a violation of the right to life and that the authorities did not adequately investigate the case. The Court of Justice has now partially agreed with him in its judgement. The authorities had not adequately fulfilled their obligation to adequately protect the life of the man. Hungary now has to pay 34,000 euros in damages and the 5,600 euros incurred in legal costs.
The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France, is part of the Council of Europe and was founded on the basis of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. The bodies, which are independent of the EU, work to protect human rights in the 46 member states.