“They kicked us harder than the others because they said 'You’re underage, why did you come here?'”

  • Date and time: February 1, 2021 23:00
  • Location: Kikinda, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 45.888011631359, 20.603964184505
  • Pushback from: Romania
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 18 person(s), age: 13, 15, 19, 20 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, water immersion, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Romanian police, additional Romanian officers described as "commando"
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The respondents, two underage brothers from Afghanistan, aged 15 and 13 attempted to cross the Romanian border from Serbia for the seventh time. At approximately 20.30 on February 1st, they started walking towards the border from the Serbian town of Kikinda (approximately two hours walking from Romania). 20 to 30 minutes after crossing the border, they were stopped by 12 regular Romanian police officers. This occurred at around 23.00.

The Romanian police took their personal belongings, including phones, blankets, and food. The transit group was then kicked and beaten, with batons by the officers. The respondents state they were kicked harder because they were younger. The police officers reportedly said: “you’re underage, why did you come here?” as they kicked them. 

The officers forced them to lie face down, hands behind their head in the snow and rain for up to five hours without permission to speak, as they continued to kick them in their back and yell at them, asking who their leader was. 

The regular police then handed them over to what the respondents referred to as the “commando” police (what they thought to be border police), who continued to beat them. These officers forced them to remain in a nearby small river for over two hours. 

After that, the officers described as “commando” police took the respondents clothes, leaving them only with a t-shirt and a pair of pants, under the snow. They finally pointed at the border and said “Romania – while pointing down, you go to Serbia”.

The respondents then walked for 24 hours back to Belgrade.