“We were crying for help, and at this time the families came out of their homes and started to watch”

  • Date and time: June 20, 2017 23:30
  • Location: Ásotthalom, Hungary
  • Coordinates: 46.1995983, 19.7833756
  • Push-back from: Hungary
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: unknown person(s), age: unknown , from: unknown
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking
  • Police involved: Some wearing camouflage army uniforms, others dressed in blue police uniforms and civilian clothes
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: Fresh Response

Original Report

On June 20th. 2017, a group of people on the move, including minors, crossed the border to Hungary. They crossed at 2am. and walked for about 30 minutes, before being apprehended by police.

The interviewee describes particularly one police officer wearing a green and brown camouflage army uniform, who beat them extensively. 

First, he came and saw us, then he found a large stick from the forest like this [gestures approx. 5cm diameter] and said, “Welcome.” He beat us for a half hour. At the beginning we were crying for help, and at this time the families came out of their homes [nearby] and started to watch. Some parents took their small children back inside their homes, but maybe 15-20 other people stood ~50m away and watched as we were beaten. Because it is a small village, everyone knows.

The interviewee describes another 3 additional police officers with dogs, and particularly one police officer in a blue uniform who participated in beating them. After about 5 minutes, 5 police cars came to the sight. The cars had both people in civilian clothes and police uniforms. One police officer checked if people were bleeding. Then, he ordered a civilian man to come with water to wash the blood from their faces.

3 people passed out from the beating, one 14 year old was covering himself with his backpack as the police officer in the green and brown army uniform beat them, the police officer pulled his bag away, and swang his stick with both hands, like one would swing a baseball bat, hitting him hard in the face. After this, he passed out for some time. The interviewee describes how this boy, when he woke up, started to dance and sing and police told him to sit down and shut up, but he did not. The other people in the group also told him, but he kept singing and dancing and speaking in a non-existing/jibberish language, the interviewee clearly perceived the boy to be in a state of delirium after the beating and being passed out.

A second man, 27, also passed out from the beatings. He was passed out for a long time. When the man in the green and brown army uniform finished beating them, he rested against a tree. He told 2 people to move the man who was passed out to a different place. The man with the green and brown army uniform told the two police officers with the dogs to release them, but they refused because there was too much blood. Then, civil police arrived and asked them for their mobiles and all their personal items. They took photos and returned the items.

They asked the group of people questions in English such as: “Where did you come to Hungary? At what time?” Afterwards they let them sleep for two hours, after which they were woken up and ordered into a van. The group of people were then driven for about 40 minutes to Horgos camp. There they waited for one hour, and officers took photos of everyone. Pictures both from the front, from each side, and one from the back. Everyone had to hold up a number for the pictures.

The group was then deported back to Serbia. One Hungarian in police uniform and one Hungarian in an Army uniform ordered them to read a statement, which ended with “If you wish to file a complaint about a specific officer, then you may do so now.” The interviewee said that they wanted to file a complaint, but the officers just ordered them to go.

When the last person was pushed through the gate, the Hungarian officer in the army uniform hit him on the head with a torch, in front of the Serbian police.