“The police, when they catch [someone] they control [bug] their telephones and they know when we cross the border [again].”

  • Date and time: June 17, 2021 12:00
  • Location: Hungarian-Serbian border, about 25 km from Subotica
  • Coordinates: 46.069907124865, 19.448770538281
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 17 person(s), age: 20-25 years old , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, destruction of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 9 police officers (wearing Hungarian police uniforms), 2 small cars, 2 bigger cars and 1 van (all official police cars)
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The respondent and his group started their transit attempt together with four other groups in Subotica, Serbia on June 16 in the evening. They crossed the border into Hungary at around 10 pm. Altogether the group included around 60 people who split up into five different groups once they crossed the border to Hungary. They walked separately through Hungary and were also pushed back separately. They eventually met again in Subotica. 

In the respondent’s group were 17 people aged from 20 to 25. One was from Pakistan and all the other 16 men were from Afghanistan. 

“When we crossed the border I had my telephone with me. I crossed the border at 10 pm. We jumped the „Dschal“ [fence]. […] When we crossed the border we walked for about five hours through the forest. After five hours we stayed in the forest.”

After walking for five hours in Hungarian territory the group decided to rest and sleep. While they were sleeping two police officers approached the group. The respondent assumes that in a previous transit attempt the Hungarian police bugged their phones, and were, therefore able to locate the group.

“We slept in the forest for about five hours until 9.30 am. The other groups were close to us. The police, when they catch [someone] they control [bug] their telephones and they know when we cross the border [again]. When we were in the forest, the police searched for us. At first there were two police officers, one [woman] and one [man].”

The respondent’s group was apprehended first. According to the respondent they checked his telephone and saw that it was not bugged. He had brought a new phone for their transit. He related that the officers concluded that more people must be in the area, as he assumed that they got the location of a bugged phone. 

“When they caught our group we stayed close to a road and more police cars were coming. […]. They left us close to a road and went to another forest to search for the other people. In total there were five cars and nine police officers.”

The officers came in two small cars, two bigger cars, and one van. The respondent describes that all of the officers wore police uniforms. The respondent’s group had to wait next to a road for about an hour while the police checked everyone’s bags and clothes. “They took all the phones and gave back all but one. One phone they destroyed.“ 

The group was then taken back to the Serbian border in the police van. There was one police officer and one driver in the van. 

“When we came back to the border they left our group for one hours in the car. It was very hot. One hour we stayed in the car and one hour we stayed outside and they [the police] took photos from our group. We had to hold signs with four numbers on it and they took our photo.”

They were brought over a very small border area to Serbia around 12 pm on June 17. The distance from the border crossing to Subotica is about 25 km. At this location, the group was forced to line up and cross the border back into Serbia. There was no Serbian police present.