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We were followed by a drone for 10 minutes

Date & Time 2023-04-11
Location Near Kelebia, Hungary
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 46.181394661967, 19.61986449707
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 12 - -
Group size 50
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, Somalia
Treatment at police station or other place of detention photos taken, no translator present
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved
Violence used Threatening
Police involved 15-20 Hungarian police officers, including female officers, 3 police jeeps, 1 big bus (coach)

The respondent is an approximately 30 years old Syrian man who was traveling together with a Syrian mother and her two daughters (both between 12 and 13 years of age).

He reported on a pushback the four of them had experienced in the early morning hours of the 11th of April 2023.

The four of them experienced this pushback in a big group of approximately 50 people of different origins. The majority of the people were Syrian, but it was reported that also people from Afghanistan, Somalia and Morocco were part of the group, including approximately 10 women and 7 children.

The respondent reported that the group had crossed the Serbian/Hungarian border near Subotica, and shortly after, they were spotted by a drone. The drone had followed them for about 10 minutes before the police arrived. He identified the police officers as Hungarian national police. When shown pictures of different uniforms and cars during the interview, the respondent confirmed that they were wearing the uniforms of the Hungarian police. He described that the officers arrived with 3 jeeps and that they were between 15 and 20 people, including women.

The man reported that there had been one officer who seemed to be higher in the hierarchy and in charge, who was very nice to them, he called him “the general”. He reported the officers joked with them, made them put down their bags and told them to take a rest. They were told to have some food and water (they weren’t offered anything but were jokingly invited to have their own food).

They were laughing with us and told us everything will be fine and that we shouldn’t worry

However, he described that the mood changed once the “general” left. According to the respondent, in his absence, the officers did not behave nicely anymore, but told them they were not welcome, that they should not come to Hungary and even threatened to kill them. No physical violence was reported.

The group was then taken to a police station where their photos were taken. The respondent stated that everyone was photographed from front and back. He gave account that they did not have to sign anything.

He further claimed that this was the friendliest he had ever been treated during any of the multiple pushbacks he had experienced (in the Balkans or in Greece) and that, overall, the presence of women and minors (and also female police officers) decreases the physical violence in his experience.

Afterwards, the group was reportedly transported in a big coach back to the border with Serbia.