A group of 9 people, including a family with children, was reportedly stopped and beaten in Hungary by what the respondent identified as Frontex officers, Czech officers and Hungarian officers. The family was likely from Turkey and it included a woman, a man and three children.
The respondent explained that the incident happened on the 27th or 28th of January around 3am in a forest north of Subotica, in Hungarian territory, close to road 55, before having crossed it.
The respondent described he was walking in Hungary for three and a half hours, after having crossed the border. He and and his group were then reportedly apprehended by several people in uniform who arrived at the place with torches, saying they were the “police” – the respondent identified them as “police officers” and Frontex officers.
The members of the transit group were reportedly made to lay on the ground and were physically assaulted.
“We had to lay down on the ground, they started kicking us and all. Then I put my head up and see this Frontex sign on his shoulder. But when you put the head out they beat you more.”
“The worst thing is when they ask you if you speak English and you say yes, that is the person who will definitely get beaten up badly.”
“I don’t like running when the police see us, we stop immediately. The more you run the more you get beaten.”
The respondent identified the uniformed people as Hungarian police officers, Frontex officers and Czech officers:
“I saw this one person with the Frontex and the other people who were Hungarian police.”
“Some of them were without uniform but with bulletproof vests and everything, green like army, from Czech Republic.”
“The Frontex people they were the ones who kicked and punched, the Hungarian police didn’t, but they did. They were dressed in dark blue, bullet-proof, walkie talkie and everything they have.”
« They were all speaking English together.”
The respondent identified the Frontex officers by the light-blue arm-band and a shoulder patch with the Frontex logo:
“Frontex I have seen two, one with the sky blue (arm-band) and one with the logo of Frontex (described as on a round shoulder patch). I watch the news so that’s why I know it’s Frontex.”
When shown a picture of the Frontex logo and arm-bands during the interview, the respondent confirmed that is what he saw during the pushback.
[Before the testimony collection, the respondent also explained he had encountered Frontex in the past, when he went through Bulgaria and was « interviewed » by them in a closed camp about the way he took to arrive to Bulgaria. He recalls the camp was called Busmantsi. This might be another reason why he recognised Frontex and their uniforms.]
As for the people identified as Czech officers, the respondent described that the vehicles they were driving had CZ number plates. He was not able to remember if they had flags on their uniforms.
“I knew they were from there because of the car having CZ number plates, a golden color car, nothing written on it”
According to the respondent, the children in the group were not hit, but the adults were, including the woman in the family:
“A female police officer beat the lady with a stick two three times. There were two three Hungarian female police officers, this one was a bit chubby, wearing glasses.”
All of the members of the group, including the children, were then reportedly searched by the Czech officers:
“They fully searched us. One time they took my phone and break it but not that time. Sometimes they take money, sometimes they don’t. They searched everything, pockets, socks, bags, jeans. They also searched the family, everybody, even the kids. I’m sure they shouldn’t do that to kids, but yeah…”
“The Czechs are the ones who searched us. They are the ones who search and beat. Sometimes they’ll find money in your pocket, like 50 euros and then they will beat you.”
The respondent described there were a few officers, specially what he identified as Hungarian police. There were also one golden jeep -described as “Range Rover”- with number plates from Czechia, regular Hungarian police cars, and a blue van – believed by the respondent to belong to Frontex:
“Because it was the night I couldn’t really see properly if something was written, but I believe this was from Frontex”
“They had dogs there as well, with muzzle. I don’t know if it was Frontex or what police but they do have the dogs.”
According to the respondent, they were forced to be on the ground for around an hour and a half and then made to walk for some kilometres to a place inside of the forest but closer to the road. A car – described as a Hungarian police car – drove behind them the whole time. He described that a van then arrived, picked the 9 of them up and drove them to the Serbian border at the Horgoš crossing point. There were reportedly already people inside of this van:
“There were already some people in the van from different locations probably and they took us to a different place where was the big bus.”
The respondent described that they drove for around 20 minutes in the small van, before changing into a bus:
“We changed vehicle along the road, in a normal place. They had two or three small vans like this there, I think they have some sort of place there where they keep the vehicles to put the people.”
When showed pictures of different vehicles, he identified those as the white vans and buses with a blue line and Rendőrség written on them used by Hungarian police.
Then, they reportedly drove for about 15 to 20 minutes in the bigger bus:
“There were quite a few people in that bus already, in total probably roughly about more than twenty people. Even they didn’t have place to sit down, they will just put the people in.”
The transit group was then brought to Horgoš – the respondent pointed the Rozske transit zone on the map (46.176035, 19.974977) -, and had to stay there for around 10 minutes. According to him, pictures were taken of them before they were pushed back:
“They take picture of us, face and back side.”
“The Frontex people didn’t come to Horgoš, they stayed there. When we started walking they didn’t come, they stayed there.”
According to the respondent, the Czech and some of the Hungarian officers, were also not present at the pushback point.
“We were in Horgoš around 5 or 5:30am. They took pictures of everybody and sent everybody back, more than twenty people. We had families there, little kids, women, young girls.”
“[It was a] very bad experience…”
“All I wanna say is treat humans like humans. That’s all I wanna say, nothing more. Fair enough we crossed the border illegally but we are not committing anything that will harm someone or anything like that.”