“They beat me badly. I still have pain in my spinal cord and ribs.”

  • Date and time: July 20, 2019 04:00
  • Location: 3km from Csikéria, Hungary
  • Coordinates: 46.116, 19.516806
  • Push-back from: Hungary
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 20-25 person(s), age: 20-30 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 11 Hungarian police officers (blue uniform), 5 police vans. 4 Military Hungarian officers, green vehicle.
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: photos taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, Escuela Con Alma

Original Report

The respondent, aged 22, a Afghan citizen, travelled together with a transit group of 20-25 Afghan people from Subotica (Serbia) to Hungary on 20th July 2019. At approximately 03:50 in the morning the group crossed the first Hungarian fence by scaling it and were trying to scale the second fence erected on Hungarian territory.

At this juncture the transit group saw a vehicle moving towards them, which the respondent described as a “blue” Hungarian police van. Noticing this, some of the transit group managed to escape, while others were apprehended by the police (occurring at approximately 04:00). According to the respondent, the officers who got down from the vehicle and arrested them were three Hungarian policemen dressed in  “blue” uniform. The transit group was immediately handcuffed and frisked by the police. All their belongings including cell phones and shoes were confiscated by the Hungarian police authorities; the items were never returned. 

The transit group was made to lie down on the ground with their chests facing down. One of the three policemen took out his radio and left a message which the respondent felt was a call for more police officers to attend the scene, and soon after another four more vehicles arrived at the spot of apprehension. According to the respondent, all the vehicles were white police vans each having two Hungarian police officers on board.

After the arrival of an additional contingent of Hungarian police officers, the transit group was beaten by the Hungarian police. The respondent termed the physical assault as inhuman behavior, as not only batons were used to hit the transit group but also they were kicked. As a result, most of the people suffered injuries mainly on head and knees.

“They beat me badly. I still have pain in my spinal cord and ribs.” 

Afterwards, the transit group was put into the police vehicles and driven inside Hungarian territory to an unknown location (described by the respondent as a barren land), located some minutes drive after crossing the second fence. The transit group was offloaded from the Hungarian police vehicles and sorted into small groups of approximately five. Each of these smaller groups was put in one Hungarian police van. 

The respondent asked to access the toilet but was denied.

During this transfer, the group was once again beaten by the police with batons. The respondent  was put in one of the Hungarian police vans, prior to which their handcuffs were taken off.

The police van in which the respondent, along with one of the smaller groups, was put in had two Hungarian police officers (one male, one female). From here, the group was taken to another location near the Hungarian – Serbian border which the respondent felt was some 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car. According to the respondent, the police recklessly drove the van by speeding up the vehicle for most of the journey. The respondent also complained that they were exposed to extreme temperatures during the ride. 

“It was a small van with no windows making it difficult for us to breath”

Once the group reached the Hungarian-Serbian border close to the fence, they were offloaded from the Hungarian police van and handed over to four officers in “green” uniform with a vehicle with some shades of green marked on its bodywork whom the respondent later termed as Hungarian “military men” (having made visual recognition when shown a photograph).

The Hungarian military men handed one paper with a unique number mentioned on each to everyone in the transit group. According to the respondent, everyone was ordered to hold this number near their chest and subsequently their photos were captured by the Hungarian military men by a camera. Afterwards, the Hungarian military men opened a gate in the fence and the smaller transit group were pushed back to the Serbian territory.

In Serbian territory, the smaller transit group didn’t see any Serbian authorities and they started walking in a random direction since they were disoriented. The place where they were pushed back to was a big field with grass almost at their head height. They continued walking until they found a road and from there they took a bus and returned to Subotica.