The Hungarian government seems to spend a lot of time trying to get the country’s name out in the foreign press, but it can’t be too happy about the publicity it is now getting in the Arab world, thanks to an allegedly epic beat-down of a citizen of the United Arab Emirates by some immigration officers down in Szeged. The incident supposedly took place on Friday in or around the parking lot of the Forrás Hotel (pictured), where one Saud Mohamed al-Marzooqi, an official of the UAE chess federation was walking with a young grandmaster named Salim Abdulrahman, whom al-Marzooqi had escorted to Hungary in order to train with Hungarian chess whizz Péter Lékó.
According to their side of the story, the two were confronted by three clearly intoxicated men claiming to be members of the border police, who intimidated them in such a way that the two foreigners ran away – after which the three ran down al-Marzooqi in a car and then beat him senseless, sending him to the hospital with numerous broken ribs and other injuries.
Al-Marzooqi has apparently not spoken with the media directly, and the hospital where he is currently recuperating – and is expected to remain for several weeks – has also not given out any information on his condition. Instead, his version of the story seems to be getting out mostly via one Sheikh Saud bin Abdelaziz Al Mualla, who is the head of the UAE chess federation; meanwhile, the English-language UAE newspaper The National has many more grisly details on the case here and here.
The Csongrád County prosecutor’s office has launched an official investigation of the incident. Which is a good thing, because there already seems to be some hemming and hawing on the part of the police of the kind that points to a “we’re sorry someone got hurt but no one in particular is to blame” outcome, something that is sadly the rule rather than the exception in Hungary; Sheikh Saud says the police have already apologized for the assault, a claim that was quickly disputed by a spokesman for the national police, who said they haven’t yet said sorry. Your move, cops.