Hungarians quiz witness to assault on UAE chess official

The office is investigating the attack on Saud Al Marzooqi who says plain-clothes police beat him and kicked him unconscious earlier this month.

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Hungarian authorities leading an investigation into the beating of an Emirati chess official have found a witness and are currently interviewing him, a spokesman for the Csongrad County prosecutors' office said late on Monday.

The office is investigating the attack on Saud Al Marzooqi who says plain-clothes police beat him and kicked him unconscious earlier this month. He says they confronted him because they thought he was an illegal immigrant.

Mr Al Marzooqi, 18, had been in the southern Hungarian city of Szeged to accompany Salim Abdulrahman, a UAE junior chess grand master, who had been preparing for a junior world competition with a top Hungarian grand master.

"Closed-circuit footage had shown that there was an eyewitness to the incident and the authority has now found the man and is currently hearing him on the matter," Ferenc Szanka, spokesman for the prosecturs' office said.

The spokesman also noted that the authority questioned Mr Abdulrahman via Skype, who has since returned to UAE.

The two men were returning from a late dinner when they were confronted by plain-clothed police who first verbally insulted the two Emirati citizens without identifying themselves, and then beat and kicked Mr Al Marzooqi in front of his hotel, the victim said.

The victim suffered multiple broken ribs and briefly stopped breathing during the ordeal due to severe asthma.

A local police spokesman has declined to comment on the matter, citing the ongoing investigation.

The prosecutors' office has launched an investigation into mistreatment in official proceedings after finding the victim's account to be well-founded.

"The prosecutors' office should be able to announce preliminary results of the investigation in the second half of this week," Mr Szanka told The National late on Monday.

Previously, the spokesman had promised speedier results for the investigation, which has been classified a high priority at the office. Last week, Mr Szanka said the officials leading the enquiry had found a number of "complications" that would delay proceedings.

Among these difficulties was the fact that the victim had been transferred to Hungary's capital Budapest for the final stage of his recovery, the spokesman said, which made additional hearings more complicated. The UAE embassy responsible for Hungary has organized for Mr Al Marzooqi's treatment in Budapest.

Mr Al Marzooqi's ordeal has astonished many in Hungary. Local media have publicised the attack, while officials of the Hungarian Chess Association have expressed deep shock on hearing about the incident.

"In the name of Hungarian chess players, we wish the victim a hasty recovery from his injuries," the assocation said in a statement.

A local Islamic community has also come to the aid of Mr Al Marzooqi. The organisation has offered the Emirati chess official a two-week stay at a Hungarian holiday resort famous for its thermal baths.