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If you drink without asking, they'll beat you more

Date & Time 2021-04-21
Location Moravita, Romania
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 45.25665866, 21.26709631
Pushback from Romania
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 15 - 21
Group size 15
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 7
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, insulting, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 2 Romanian regular police officers (dark blue uniforms with stars on the shoulders, balaclavas covering their faces), 4 Romanian border police officers (wearing dark blue uniforms), 1 "kommando" police officer (wearing camouflage clothing)

The respondent, a seventeen-year-old male from Afghanistan, crossed the Romanian border at 23:00 on the 20th of April, walking from the Serbian city of Vrsac. He was with a group of fifteen men, their ages ranging from 15 to 21, all from Afghanistan. 

After walking for approximately 40 minutes, they were in the village of Moravita (ROM), waiting for a taxi to bring them to the city of Timișoara for one hour and a half. The respondent described how a “man with sheep” (shepherd) called the police on them. 

Two regular police officers, wearing uniforms matching that of the Romanian border police (dark blue with stars on their shoulders)   and their faces covered by balaclavas (only their eyes showing), arrived in a jeep. The police shone a torch on the group and checked each member one by one, took their money, phones, clothes, including trousers and jackets,  and kicked and beat them with batons everywhere. 

After ten minutes, the two police officers forced the group to walk in front of their police jeep for 30 minutes traveling towards the Serbian border. One police officer drove and honked his horn, and the other police officer walked alongside the group. It was raining and the path was muddy and damaged. 

At the border, the group was joined by four border police officers, also wearing dark blue uniforms, and one which the respondent described as a “kommando” police officer (because of the camouflage/military clothing). The police officers checked the whole group and beat them again using batons and kicking them. They injured one of the respondent’s friends’ head by beating him with a baton on the head until he fell down in the mud. (The respondent was not specific about the length of time this went on for). The whole group was hungry and thirsty by the time they were met by the border police, as they were respecting Ramadan and fasting during the day. However, they did not dare to drink as:

“if you drink without asking they’ll beat you more”

After the Romanian police let the group walk back to Serbia. The pushback across the border occured at approximately 02.40am on 21st April 2021. After returning to their departure point, the Serbian police approached the group in Vrsac and took the money they had left, they insulted them using “bad words”. The respondent and the group were threatened by the Serbian police that if they did not hand over all their money “within 10 minutes”, they would be pushed back further to North Macedonia.