On January 28th, 2021, 4 persons, all Moroccan nationals, entered Austria via the Hungarian border on foot during the night. They had been walking for weeks for hundreds of kilometres and were exhausted. In January, temperatures in this region drop well below freezing point during the night. A. recalls:
“It was difficult for us. We slept in sleeping bags which we wrapped in an additional layer of plastic. What is important, we survived these very difficult days.”
They were already 2 km inside Austrian territory when they encountered a police car. Three Austrian police officers were present when they clearly stated that they wanted to apply for asylum and the officers obviously understood that. They did not take any information from them or document anything; they did not even take down any personal data of the people. The police told them to get into their car; they would bring them to the border where they should cross back into Hungary and cross again later in a different place where there was no police present.
“Cross the border elsewhere”
The four Moroccans obeyed and got into the police car; but the Austrian officers delivered them to the Hungarian police who returned them to Serbia within a matter of hours. The Serbian authorities did not detain the group. They ended up homeless and were robbed in the streets.