“We thought we would go to a police station but they brought us to the Hungarian border instead”

  • Date and time: November 4, 2020 13:00
  • Location: Burgenland, Austria
  • Coordinates: 46.1527346, 19.9655305
  • Pushback from: Austria, Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: Unknown , from: Algeria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: An unspecified number of Austrian, Hungarian and Serbian police officers, all wearing uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Pushback Alarm Austria

Original Report

Three persons of Algerian nationality entered the Austrian region of Burgenland during the first week of November 2020. They had secretly climbed under a truck transporting big pipes for construction works. The truck went to Hungary via Croatia, stayed one day in Budapest and then proceeded to Austria. It stopped in a sort of garage. The 3 men knew they were on Austrian soil and more than 10 km away from the Hungarian town Sopron, because they had a GPS device on their mobile phone indicating their exact location. By then, they had spent 30 hours at minus 5 degrees Celsius hidden below the truck.

There were dogs at the garage that started to bark and alerted the driver who found them around 11:00 am. He brought them to a warm place, gave them water and food and informed the Austrian police. A number of Austrian police in uniform arrived. They asked the people where they came from and where they were headed to. They wrote down their names, age and nationality and took photos. They did not take their fingerprints and did not give them any documents.

The people asked for asylum. The truck driver was present when they asked for asylum. The respondent reported that the driver was probably Bosnian, he spoke Bosnian with the Algerian men and English with the police. He was afraid of getting into trouble himself. He said that he did not know when they had entered the truck but that he took two breaks in Bosnia and Serbia and that it probably happened then.

The Austrian officers took all the three persons away in their car. They thought they would be transported to a police station. Instead they were brought straight to the Hungarian border. The Hungarian police was already waiting for them. It was around 1 pm when they were pushed back. The Hungarian police treated them in a friendly and respectful manner and brought them to Budapest. They took their mobile phones and searched them and took their fingerprints before returning their belongings. The persons had to sign papers in Hungarian, but were not provided with copies of what they had signed or any other paperwork by the Hungarian police. They spent about 12 hours in Hungary and were handed over to the Serbian police at 1:00 am. The Serbian police took their fingerprints and photos and set them free in the Serbian town of Horgos.