“"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, ~25 km from Subotica
  • Coordinates: 46.0969581, 19.65763
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 17 person(s), age: 20-25 , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, destruction of personal belongings, photos taken
  • 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 together, with four other groups in Subotica, Serbia on June 16 in the evening and crossed the border around 10 pm. Altogether the group included around 60 people who split up in 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 in the age of 20 to 25. One was from Pakistan and 16 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.“

“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 caught first. According to the respondent they checked his telephone and saw that it was not bugged, as it was a new telephone. They concluded that more people must be in the area.

“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.“

All police officers wore police uniforms and they came in two small cars, two bigger cars and one van. 

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

“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. There were no Serbian police present.