On the night of 19th February 2020 at around 22:00, a group of 26 people from Afghanistan boarded a train in the area of Subotica (SRB). The group included minors as young as 14 years old. During the night the train began moving and crossed the border into Hungary.
Approximately four hours later at 02:00 on 20th February 2020, the transit were found by seven Hungarian police officers with dogs. The apprehension occurred at the train carriages came to a halt at a section of track just before the Kelebia Train Station (HUN) The police officers had one van and one police car.
As the transit group stepped out of the train carriages, the Hungarian police hit them with batons on their legs, arms, abdomen, and chests. When all 26 of the transit group had been removed, the officers took pictures of their faces as well as requesting personal information (name, ages, nationality). The officers also destroyed the transit groups phone charging ports.
The respondent explains how at the site of apprehension the transit group expressed the intention for international protection.
“We told the police we wanted to apply for asylum, they laughed and said we were all Talibans”
After this denial, the transit group were put inside one van and driven by the Hungarian police. In the rear of the van where the 26 people were detained was a police officer with a dog.There was not enough room for all of them in the back of the van and the dog bit some of the transit group, urged on by the police handler.
“The police sent the dog to bite us. When we were inside the van, my heart was really fast because dog was really close”.
At approximately 04:00, the transit group were taken out of the van at the border, where Hungarian police opened a door in the fence and told them to go back to Serbia. The transit group then had to walk for several hours to reach Subotica (SRB) in sub-zero temperatures.