“One person in the group spoke English and they beat him up more than the others for that.”

  • Date and time: May 22, 2021 05:00
  • Location: Military border crossing close to Subotica, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 46.189532304825, 19.662245710457
  • Pushback from: Hungary
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 8 person(s), age: unknown , from: Syria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), pushing people to the ground, insulting, dog attacks, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 7 Hungarian border police officers (one of them with a symbol of a dog sewed on his uniform), 2 Serbian police officers
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The respondent started to cross the border from Sombor in Serbia to Hungary on May 21 2021, at around 1 am at night. He was in a group of eight people. Everyone in the group was male, Syrian and over 18 years old. Once they had crossed the border close to Sombor, they walked into Hungary for about 10 kilometres through the heavy rain. 

The respondent said that at around 8 am they were stopped by 5 police officers in a field. The police allegedly beat everyone, pushed them to the ground and let the dog they had with them loose on the respondent and his group. The dog did not wear a muzzle and was only held back shortly before he could bite someone. According to the respondent, one policeman shouted, “If you come back again, we will kill you” at the group. One person in the group spoke English and the respondent stated that they beat him up more than the others for that.

Even though the police used physical violence, no one was severely injured. Of the five police officers, four were male and one was female, and all wore blue uniforms with ‘Border Police‘ written on them. The officer who had the dog with him wore a uniform with the symbol of a dog sewed on his arm. 

The respondent stated that after the police had beaten all the group up, they collected everyone’s mobile phones and removed the SIM cards. The respondent said he thinks they also bugged everyone’s phones, so they could be tracked. Then the phones were given back and the group was put in a van without any windows and driven to a police station. The van was white with a blue line on the sides. Because there were no windows in the vehicle and the respondent had no more SIM card in his phone, he does not know where he and the others were brought to. 

The group had to stay at the police station overnight. They were given one meal and water. Due to the heavy rain and them being pushed on the ground by the police, everyone’s clothes were wet and they could not sleep. The police took everyone’s fingerprints and pictures and they forced the respondent and the others to sign a document they could not read because it was only in Hungarian. 

Early the next morning, the group was brought in a white bus with blue lines on the side back to the Serbian border. The respondent stated that there were two police officers in the bus, neither of whom had been among the officers who beat them up the previous day. The respondent and his group were brought over the border through a military border crossing close to Subotica at around 5 am on May 22 2021. The respondent also added that there were two Serbian police officers present at the border who took everyone’s names and fingerprints and then let them go.