“He did not have enough money to pay for the surgery, they informed him that he was going to be taken to Serbia”

  • Date and time: February 7, 2021 15:00
  • Location: Near Horgos, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 46.177802147121, 19.964510857235
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 27 , from: Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Hungarian police officers in blue uniforms, at least 2 of them with “POLICE” on the back. 1 white van with blue letters. 2 Serbian police officers in blue uniforms, 1 unmarked car
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, personal information taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The respondent, a 27-year-old Moroccan man, was sharing a hotel room in Budapest, Hungary, with his friend, a 25-year-old man from Morocco, on the night of February 3rd 2021. According to him, there were around 20 other people on the move staying in the hotel, from Morocco, Palestine, Algeria and Syria.

At approximately midnight that night, two officers in blue uniforms with letters on their back spelling “POLICE” entered their locked room with force. The respondent reported that he and his friend escaped by climbing out of the window. But being located on the third floor, they were forced to jump a long distance, down the back of the hotel building. His friend was then able to run away from the place where they landed, but the respondent broke his leg during the fall. He said he was unable to run and hid behind the back of the hotel while the police continued the raid.

The respondent reported hearing people scream in the building, where other policemen were allegedly forcefully apprehending and hitting other people on the move also staying in the hotel. It was noted by the respondent that someday later when he telephoned with another of the guests who had been in the hotel, the forced entry of rooms had occurred for the other guests. According to the respondent, another group was apprehended from the hotel in this raid and were pushed back to Serbia on February 5th. It was unclear to him where they had been held or transported to during the two days before the pushback.

He explained that he waited in hiding for about an hour until he could no longer hear the police and figured they left. He entered the hotel again to go back into his room. The hotel personnel allegedly charged him for another night as well as for the lock the police broke while entering.

According to the respondent, at 3 AM (4th February 2021), two policemen in blue uniforms arrived at the hotel. The officers broke into his room again and apprehended him. They did not use any bodily force against him in this incident.

“I was scared and didn’t do anything” 

The officers called an ambulance and went with him to the Péterfy hospital (Budapest, Péterfy Sándor u. 8, 1076 Hungary). In the hospital, a translator was present to communicate. The respondent expressed his intent to claim asylum, which the translator explained to the police officer, who allegedly responded:

“There is no asylum in Hungary”.

The respondent described that afterwards, the police accompanied him while he was x-rayed. The respondent had to leave his personal belongings with the two policemen who were with him. According to him, they kept his two phones. The respondent’s leg was placed in a cast and he was put in a room for the following three days under constant supervision of two police officers working in shifts. The respondent reported that the doctor always had to ask permission from policemen to give him the medication.

On Saturday the 6th of February he was told that his leg needed surgery, which he would have to pay for. When he told them he did not have enough money to pay for it, they informed him that he was going to be taken to Serbia the next day. On Sunday the 7th of February in the early afternoon, he said he was put in a police van – white with blue writing – with two policemen in dark blue uniforms and driven to the Hungarian border with Serbia (a journey that took about two hours). On the way, the officers stopped to buy crutches that he claimed he had to pay for. At approximately 3 PM that day, he was made to walk back to Serbia through a small gate on the fence close to the Border Crossing Point of Horgos/Roske.

Two Serbian policemen in blue uniforms were waiting on the other side. The respondent told them about his phones being taken by the police, and the two Serbian officers allegedly questioned the two Hungarian policemen about this. The respondent alleged that the officers replied that it had to do with the police in Budapest, not them.

The respondent explained that he was then driven in an unmarked car to the police station in the official border crossing, which took them a few minutes. There, they took his personal details and fingerprints and then drove him to the bus station in town where they let him out of the car and drove away. He reported that no force was used against him by the Serbian officers.