“When the respondent asked for Asylum, the officers punched him and called him a terrorist.”

  • Date and time: July 24, 2021 11:00
  • Location: Kelebija border crossing
  • Coordinates: 46.167199505312, 19.560066332666
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 15, 18-19 years old , from: Syria, Iraq, Egypt
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), pushing people to the ground, insulting
  • Police involved: 1 civilian police officer, 15 Hungarian police officers, some Serbian border police officers at the border crossing
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: photos taken, papers signed, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The respondent and his group, composed by 5 members in total, entered Hungary via Romania. On 24 July, at around 10 a.m., they were picked up by a civilian police officer on a dirt road in a small forest in Szeged. The policeman was not wearing a uniform, but was carrying a gun. He handcuffed everyone and forced them to sit on the ground. Everyone in the group cooperated. The civilian police officer called for back up and after 15 minutes a police car arrived to take the group to the border crossing near Subotica (Kelebija). The car ride took about 30 minutes.

At the border, 15 Hungarian police officers wearing blue uniforms with the Hungarian flag sewed on them searched the respondent and his group and took everyone’s mobile phones. After a few minutes they returned the phones. The police had bugged the phones, but the respondent was later able to locate and remove the file.

The group was handed a paper in Arabic explaining that people who are fleeing can only stay in Hungary legally. The respondent then asked for asylum and a legal stay, but was told that he had to leave the country. The officers then insulted him and called him a terrorist. When the respondent spoke up, he was pushed to the ground and received punches to the head, stomach and feet. The respondent had the impression that he was the only one in the group who was beaten because he was the only one who spoke English.

Before they were taken back across the border to Serbia, everyone in the group had to sign a paper in Hungarian, which was not translated. They also had to take photos while holding up numbers, and were filmed the whole time. When the respondent asked for water, his request was denied.

The group was then taken back across the border at the official border crossing in Kelebija. Serbian police were present there, but did not interact with the group.