“They took pictures of us with a number, like we were terrorists”

  • Date and time: January 18, 2021 14:00
  • Location: Horgos Border Crossing
  • Coordinates: 46.177215472533, 19.985675811768
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 15,18, 20, 22 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 4 policemen and 1 policewoman in blue uniforms with the Hungarian flag and a badge showing a cross, 1 white van with the Hungarian flag. 2 Serbian policemen in blue uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The interviewee reported he left from Horgos, Serbia, in the early hours of 16th January, 2021, with a group of six other Afghani people on the move (including one 15 year old minor). They crossed the border at 01:00 and then walked for four hours until they arrived in the area of Kisszallas, Hungary.

The group then spent two days in this location without access to food. Five of the group were picked up by a car at 04:00 in the morning on 18th January. After five minutes in the car, they were stopped by the police and told to get out of the vehicle. The respondent reported that there were three policemen and one policewoman in blue uniforms with the Hungarian flag and a badge showing a cross, and one white van with the same flag -and a cage inside. They called another police officer who arrived minutes later.

After questioning the driver (who was then allegedly allowed to leave), the officers searched the transit group and drove them via van to a police station in an urban area. The interviewee reported that the policemen made them hold a number while taking pictures of them and then locked them in a cell for eight hours. No translator was provided.

“They want to count the number of refugees who try to cross the border so they took pictures of us with a number like we were terrorists”

The officers reportedly ignored more than 10 requests for food, water and blankets by the respondent -he described the room as being really cold-, repeatedly arguing they would bring them back to Serbia in 30 minutes or 1 hour.

At 14:00 that day (18th January), the officers removed them from the cell and drove them to Horgos border crossing -in the same white van used the day before. At the border, the respondent alleges that the Hungarian police called the Serbian police and told them that the five group members were going to be removed to the territory.

Two Serbian officers in blue uniforms then met them at the other side of the border and walked them for 15 minutes to the nearest police station -likely the border police station itself. They took their personal information (full name, date of birth and country of origin) and wrote this down on a document which they were made to sign, alongside giving their fingerprints. The respondent reported that the Serbian officers told them they would give them the papers telling them to leave the country. This assertion was infact not carried out. Instead the the group was released and told to go to a camp.