“They hit everyone two or three times before moving to the next person”

  • Date and time: December 18, 2020 00:00
  • Location: near Vrsac, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 45.1116185264, 21.472514500436
  • Pushback from: Romania
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 43 person(s), age: 12-30 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 10 Romanian policemen in blue uniorms, 2 blue cars. 4 Serbian policemen in blue uniforms, 1 blue car and 1 blue van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: personal information taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The interviewee, a 19 year old man from Afghanistan, reported that he left from Vršac, Serbia, with a group of 42 other Afghani people-on-the-move. The group included 10-15 minors as young as 12 years old. They left Serbia in the evening of 18th December, 2020. After crossing the border to Romania, at around 18:00, they walked for two hours in the woods before they decided to stop for the night. At around 20:00, they were found by 10 policemen in blue uniforms who arrived in two blue cars. The officers then allegedly beat most of them with batons for 15 minutes, including minors over 15.

“They hit everyone two or three times before moving to the next person” 

The respondent also reported that two of the men suffered severe leg injuries which made walking difficult. Neither of them received any medical treatment for these injuries. After the beating, the policemen took most of the group’s phones (20-30), and made them walk for two hours back to Serbia while following them in the cars.

Four Serbian police officers in blue uniforms were then waiting for them at the other side of the border at night (2 of them inside of a dark blue police car). There was also a van of the same colour. They reportedly took pictures of their ID cards from Presevo camp (and the papers previosuly issued to some of them ordering them them to leave the country within three days. After this the group were released and walked back into Serbia.