“"When I saw my head, the blood was red"”

  • Date and time: May 25, 2019 00:00
  • Location: Tompa border crossing, Hungary
  • Coordinates: 46.169118178226434, 19.557683885999495
  • Push-back from: Hungary
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 20 years old (respondent) , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting
  • Police involved: 6 Hungarian 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?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, Escuela Con Alma

Original Report

At approximately midnight on May 25th, a transit group of six Afghani men attempted to cross the Serbo-Hungarian border near Tompa (Hungary) inside a truck. Because the date of the attempted crossing was in the middle of the fasting month Ramadhan, the Afghani men attempted the crossing in weak physical condition.

When the truck entered the border post between Kalebija (Serbia) and Tompa (Hungary), the transit group was detected inside the vehicle on the Hungarian side of the border. The respondent thought their discovery was due to an x-ray scan of the vehicle. Three Hungarian police officers opened the vehicle’s door. The officers first discovered two of the group members, and demanded to know whether more people were present inside the vehicle.

Insulting them as “Taliban” and shining bright lights at them, the other four men were discovered and all men were ordered to leave the vehicle. At this point, the three present police officers began striking the men’s legs, arms, and backs with batons. The police officers asked the men to present their identification papers (which they could not) and to stand by a wall at the Hungarian border station. The initial three Hungarian police officers were then joined by three additional officers. Thus, altogether six police officers were present. The Hungarian officers were wearing dark blue uniforms, but the respondent could make out few physical features due to rain and darkness. He did not think that they were wearing masks, however.

This physical assault with batons continued after the other police officers joined. Most of the beatings continued to be concentrated on the men’s arms and legs, but the respondent was hit on the head, which resulted in substantial blood flow (see Figure 1). When the respondent made the Hungarian police officers aware of his injury, the officers did not provide any medical assistance.

“I told the police my head is broken and my blood is red. He [responded] by calling [me] a motherfucker. Then I was very scared.”

After physically assaulting the Afghani men for around five minutes, the Hungarian police officers made the group cross back into the Serbian part of the border station by running after them, threatening them with more physical violence. According to the testimony, there was no opposition to the men crossing back into Serbia by Serbian police officers. Once inside Serbia, the group walked, according to the respondent, for four hours to the next bus station. The next day, the respondent was treated at a medical station for his injuries which necessitated stitching of the wound (see Figure 2).

“[The] police is very big, we are very small.”

Figure 1 (substantial blood flow after injuries sustained at border crossing)
Figure 2 (stitches received at a medical station, the day after the incidence)