“Medication Stolen to Deter Crossing into Romania”

Injury
  • Date and time: June 17, 2020 00:00
  • Location: Timisoara, Romania
  • Coordinates: 45.7488716, 21.2086793
  • Push-back from: Romania
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 18, 24, 56 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving, forced to ride in van with gasoline
  • Police involved: 12 Romanian officers; 2 Serbian police officers
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On June 17, 2020 the 24 year old man who made this report (reporter), his 18 year old sister, and their 56 year old mother were violently pushed back from Romania.

They crossed into Romania, in the forest, on June 16 and spent an entire day in the “jungle” (forest). After this they were picked up by a driver and taken to Timisoara, Romania. The group was somewhere between 10 and 15 km from the border, on a mountain road, when the car was stopped by the police.

Upon exiting the car, the respondent immediately said that he wanted to stay in the country and expressed an intention to claim asylum. Over the course of his interaction with the Romanian officers, he repeated this two or three times. The police did not speak with them, but were instead described as beating him and the driver. During this exchange, the respondent was hit on the head with a baton and his nose was badly injured by one officer’s fist (see the attached imaged). Both the mother and sister watched this violence occur; his mother began to cry and the respondent described asking the officers that they beat him somewhere else so his mother didn’t see, but they refused.

In total, the respondent described that at least 12 officers were present after the car was stopped. Of these officers, one was described as female; she was sent away by her colleagues before the beating began. Of the officers present, three men, described as “tall and strong” by the respondent, participated in the beating.

Their money (some 1000 EUR and 25 USD) was stolen from them by the officers at this time. In addition, their phones were destroyed, except one that his mother had hidden in her clothing. His mother had heart surgery two years ago; they took about three months of medication from her, so that they couldn’t come back this way again.

The officers divvied up the three power banks that they took from them. According to the respondent, when they took their bags of clothes they said:

“Do not worry, we will not wear your clothes, we will burn them; you will see the smoke in the sky.”

All of this occurred on the side of the road; there was no other traffic. They were with the Romanian officers for some three hours.

The respondent recalled that the Romanian police officers poured gasoline on the floor of the back of a prisoner-transport van before making the respondent, his sister and his mother get in and sit in it. They were not provided an explanation for this. They then drove 30 minutes to the Serbian border.

At the border they were met by a vehicle which held two Serbian officers inside – one male and one female. According to the respondent, the two groups of officers chatted and joked, between each other for a brief amount of time, implying that the two groups knew each other.

The male Serbian officer drove a car; the female officer walked about 6 or 7km with them and is described as having been very kind. They were given water and the Serbian police arranged a taxi that picked them up for which they could pay in Belgrade with a friend’s money, because theirs had been stolen by the Romanian authorities.