x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hungarians launch inquiry into assault on UAE chess officials

Ferenc Szanka, a spokesman for the Csongrad County Prosecution Service, said that an investigation had been launched against unknown persons on suspicion of maltreatment in official proceedings.

BUDAPEST //Hungarian prosecutors have launched an investigation into the attack on Emirati chess officials in the southern Hungarian city of Szeged.

Saud Mohammed Al Marzooqi, a member of the UAE Chess Federation, was badly beaten on Friday by three men claiming to be immigration officers.

The men knocked Mr Al Marzooqi to the ground with their car, and beat and kicked him until he was unconscious.

He was taken to hospital with five broken ribs and bruises on his chest and back.

Sheikh Saud bin Abdelaziz Al Mualla, president of the UAE Chess Federation, said police had admitted the attack and apologised for it.

But Szabolcs Szenti, a spokesman for the state police, denied the police had admitted assaulting Mr Al Marzooqi.

Ferenc Szanka, a spokesman for the Csongrad County Prosecution Service, said that an investigation had been launched against unknown persons on suspicion of maltreatment in official proceedings.

Mr Marzooqi had been accompanying the Emirati grand master Salim Abdulrahman, who was preparing with top Hungarian player Peter Leko for the World Junior Chess Championship in Athens this year.

Mr Szanka said authorities were treating the case with special urgency and would put forward results within the coming weeks.

"The authorities are holding a hearing with the victim as we speak," he said.

Mr Szenti said the police were working in full cooperation with investigators.

He said no disciplinary action had been taken and police would wait for the conclusion of the investigation before taking any steps.

But Mr Szenti stressed a number of accusations carried by the media could be wrong and said police had not admitted any wrongdoing.

Hungary's foreign ministry declined to comment, directing questions to the ministry of interior.

Sheikh Saud had said Hungary's ambassador to the UAE had informed him the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was closely following the investigation.

Hungary has stepped up border control measures in past years as a large stretch of its frontier borders the Schengen zone, which has no European passport control.

In an April report on Hungarian immigration authorities, a UN body said asylum-seekers and refugees in Hungary were subject to regular night checks by police "in a harsh manner without respect to privacy or dignity".

newsdesk@thenational.ae