“They laughed and said: “Welcome to Hungary””

  • Date and time: December 31, 2020 22:00
  • Location: Near Tavankut, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 46.098416558528, 19.472683194043
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 15-28 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, dog attacks
  • Police involved: 7 police officers in blue uniforms with the Hungarian flag and a badge showing a cross, 3 white cars with Hungarian flags on them.
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: photos taken, personal information taken, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The interviewee, an Afghani man, reported he left from Sombor, Serbia, with a group of other 4 Afghani people on the move. The group included one 15 year old minor, and they departed from the town at 17:00 on 31st December, 2020. After two hours walk the group crossed the border into Hungary at 19:00 and were apprehended two minutes later by officers who were located directly near the border.

The patrol included seven police officers in blue uniforms, with the Hungarian flag and a badge showing a cross. The officers arrived on the scene, after hearing the sound of an alarm which had been triggered on the border fence. The officers came in three white cars -with Hungarian flags on them- and were carrying two dogs with muzzles on.

The officers then reportedly asked the group:

“Who is your owner (boss)?”

And when they replied they didn’t have one, the policemen threatened to let the dogs loose on them if they didn’t answer. After getting the same reply, the officers removed the muzzles and unleashed the dogs who ran towards and jumped on the respondent and the other members of the group.

“I was really scared and told them to leave me”

One of the policemen then punched the interviewee on the mouth, allegedly resulting in a lot of bleeding:

“My jacket was full of blood”

Afterwards, 3 officers started kicking and hitting the group with black wooden sticks on torso and legs while they were crouching and covering their heads to protect themselves from the beating. The hitting allegedly lasted for around 5 minutes, during which they laughed and said:

“Welcome to Hungary”  …  “next time you come, I will kill you”

The respondent reported that they also beat the minor even though he repeatedly told the officer hitting him that he was underage, which only resulted in continued beating. 

After the hitting, the policemen wrote down their personal information -full name, date of birth and country of origin- and took pictures of all of them, as well as pictures of their camp cards. The respondent also alleged that the officers took his phone and put some kind of code in it –”so it makes a sound when you cross the border”– before giving it back.

The group was then made to wait for three hours at the same spot and was denied food, water and blankets, despite the multiple requests and the low temperatures they were enduring. When asked about providing these basic ammenities, one of the officers allegedly told the respondent:

“Fuck you” … “Fuck off, don’t come here”

During these three hours, the interviewee asked several times to be taken back to Serbia and was told to be quiet in response.

At 22:00, the officers told them to get in one of the cars and drove them to a gate in the fence -close to Tavankut, Serbia- where there were more Hungarian policemen. They were then made to walk back to Serbia. No Serbian police was present on the other side according to the interviewee.