“Beaten for hiding a phone”

  • Date and time: July 6, 2020 17:00
  • Location: Homorud, Hungary
  • Coordinates: 45.98184699999999, 18.7887766
  • Push-back from: Hungary
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 18 person(s), age: Respondent 26; 16 other adults; 1 child , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Hungarian border police and additional Hungarian officers
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

In early July, around the 6th, nine persons, including four men, two women and three children were violently pushed back from Hungary to Serbia. The primary respondent for this report was a 30-year-old person from Afghanistan; the other members of the group were all Afghan as well.

The group began their transit attempt by crossing from Sombor, Serbia into Croatia before reaching the Hungarian border near Homorúd, Hungary [45.979912, 18.801082].

The village of Homorúd in Hungary, approximately 10 km away from the Hungarian borders with both Croatia and Serbia. The respondents described being apprehended, violently detained, and denied the right to claim asylum by officers near this village

Around this point, a group of Hungarian border police approached and apprehended the group at the border around five or six o’clock in the evening and were not unkind to the group. This initial group of officers called for backup officers which took a considerable amount of time to arrive. In the two hours until the other officers arrived, the police set up a tent on the side of the street where the group waited. The new officers, who wore dark blue were described as being “very bad” – very angry and loud.

“We want asylum here, we have children,” the group told the officers. They were told “no” and not permitted to speak. The officers made them kneel with their faces to the ground and kept repeating “look down, look down”; they were not allowed to look up. The man making this report says they were not concerned with having their faces seen, but with humiliating the group.

They checked each of the group members for mobiles, power banks and other supplies; a woman officer searched the women.  The officers destroyed all phones that they found, as well as any power banks. They cut everyone’s shoe laces and the cords of the mobile chargers. The man making this report had shoes without laces; they cut his shoes instead.

The respondent’s sister was hiding his mobile phone on her body. The woman officer searching her found it. A male officer came over and began to beat her with his baton; the female officer was unhappy and gave the mobile phone back undamaged. Images of her injuries are included; three days later when she was planning to join her brother in making this report, she collapsed while walking, still due to the injuries.

They were then driven in a van for two hours to the border between Hungary and Serbia, near Subotica. The van was incredibly loud, clanging the entire time. When they arrived to the border, a door in the gate was opened and they were pushed through. They then spent the night in a wheat field on the Serbian side of the border.

An injury sustained by one of the group-members from Hungarian authorities