MADRID — The Syrian refugee who was tripped at a border hotspot by a Hungarian journalist in an incident that generated global outrage is moving to a Madrid suburb after a Spanish soccer academy offered to help rebuild his life, an official with the school said Wednesday.
Osama Abdul Mohsen and his small son Zaid were on a train expected to arrive in Madrid at midnight Wednesday, said Luis Miguel Pedraza of the CENAFE school that trains soccer coaches. One of the school’s coaching graduates who speaks Arabic was on the train with them.
Mohsen was captured on video carrying his son when camerawoman Petra Laszlo tripped him and sent him tumbling to the ground in a field full of other migrants running from authorities near the Hungarian village of Roszke.
He ended up in Germany, where media reports revealed he had been a soccer coach in Syria. The school then convinced him to come to Spain, where he will stay for now in an apartment near the school’s training facility in the suburb of Getafe.
The school wants to find Mohsen a job in Spain’s vast soccer training sector but he speaks only Arabic plus a little English and would need to learn Spanish, said Pedraza, a former national level soccer referee.
“The first thing is to get him settled,” Pedraza said. “First we’re giving him a hand as a humanitarian gesture. Later we’ll look for something. He’s interested in our school.”
The school also plans to help Mohsen apply for asylum in Spain. The country last week agreed to take 17,680 refugees from Syria and other countries under a plan set up by the European Commission.
Laszlo was fired from her job at the right-wing N1TV online channel after footage was aired of her tripping Mohsen and kicking other migrants.
Alan Clendenning, The Associated Press