“They give like a kick to everybody, two or three kicks depending on your luck.”

  • Date and time: April 1, 2021 15:00
  • Location: Near Moravita (Romania)
  • Coordinates: 45.242473032503, 21.253738915009
  • Pushback from: Romania
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 7 person(s), age: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: In the apprehension: One secret Romanian police officer and four Romanian police officers, two police cars. In the police station: Four Romanian police officers. During the pushback: Two Romanian police officers, one big van. In Serbia: Two Serbian police officers.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent is a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan. He crossed the border from Serbia to Romania on the night of the 30th March in a large group of people. After two days of traveling, the respondent along with some others reached Timisoara (Romania), on the 1st of April. They were a group of seven people, between 15 and 19 years old, all from Afghanistan.

In the city, police in civilian clothes stopped them asking where they were from and where they wanted to go. The respondent answered they were from Afghanistan and that they wanted to go to the camp in Timisoara. The man told them he would call the police and they would bring them to the camp.

After a while, two police cars arrived at the point with two police officers in each car. They were all Romanian policemen. The respondent described their uniform’s color as a mix of purple and blue, with two or three stars on their shoulders. The officers offered them something to eat or drink but the group refused it, saying they were all right. So they went to the police station, which took them about 20 minutes walking.

At around 11:00 am they arrived at the police station and they were forced to stand in front of the main door waiting for the officers that allegedly would bring them to the camp. They described that while waiting for one or two hours they were repeatedly insulted by four officers. The group members asked for some water to drink, but their request was denied.

At around 12-13:00 pm, two police officers arrived at the police station and put them into a van. They were two Romanian police officers, a woman and a man. The respondent describes their uniform as the ones mentioned before but without the stars on their shoulders. He also remembers the van was colored green. The authorities told them that they would drive them to the camp.

In the van, they realized that they were instead going back to Serbia because they overheard how one of the officers mentioned it. One of the members of the group complained loud about that, and the female police officer insulted his mother in return. Everyone got angry but the respondent tried to keep his friend calm. Two hours later they reached the Serbian border near Moravita village (Romania).

“Just keep silence, just be silence, they are deporting us to Serbia, they are pushing us back.”

At 15:00pm on the 1st of April, the whole group was pushed back to Serbia. They were dropped off and forced to cross the border by foot across the fields between Moravita (Romania) and Vatin (Serbia). Before the actual pushback, the officers took all their money and additionally asked for the phone they were carrying. Since it was turned off because the battery was empty, they allowed them to keep it. The respondent highlighted that they were forced to stand facing towards the side of the van with their hands up, while the officers were kicking them.

“They take our money. […]. In the back side they give like a kick to everybody, two or three kicks depending on your luck. I had three kicks.”

In Vatin, the first village in Serbia after crossing the border, they wanted to look for a taxi or a bus, so they had to walk for three hours until the next town, Vrsac. In Vrsac, at the bus station, a Serbian police officer stopped them asking where they came from and if they had any camp identification card. They said, that they indeed had a camp ID in Serbia. They were forced to hand over three of their identification cards and then asked to wait five minutes until the boss of this police officer arrived at the location.

When the supervisor of the officer arrived, he asked them for money (30 € per person), making explicit that otherwise they would get pushed back to Macedonia. As all their money was taken by the Romanian police, they did not have any option but to accept the pushback. At that moment, the respondent made a sort of deal with the officer: He would organize 100 € in 20 minutes, (the time that his brother needed to send him the money through Western Union). Instead of paying the officer, they managed to buy a bus ticket to Beograd that was leaving in 10 minutes, so that they could escape the second pushback