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They made us wade into the river and then they beat us

Date & Time 2023-04-07
Location Near Horgoš, Serbia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 46.178645526822, 19.955341412718
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 25
Group size 15
Countries of origin Syria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 9
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, insulting, pepper spray, electric shock, water immersion, dog attacks, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 13 Hungarian Border Police in white and blue police car, and two navy vans Hungarian badges, no ski masks

The respondent crossed the Serbian/Hungarian border near Horgoš, Serbia with a group of 15 Syrian people, including 1 woman and two children. It was about 3:00am. After walking about 20 meters, they came across four people in uniforms that the respondent identified as Hungarian border police officers, who had been hiding behind trees. According to the respondent, they had Hungarian flags on their badges but spoke to the group only in English.

After all 15 people from the transit group had been apprehended and gathered together, the authorities reportedly called for 2 more police vans. According to the respondent, the officers sprayed pepper spray into his eyes, and repeated the action 10 minutes later. He described that more police officers arrived and that there were 8 male and 1 female officers in total, all Hungarian. They reportedly instructed the group to walk into the nearby stream and go into the water up to their waists. They were beaten as they walked into the stream. The respondent described that the officers threatened them with an electric weapon to coerce them into the river, where they had to stay for 15 minutes. The respondent said that the water was freezing and the children and woman also had to remain in the river.

According to him, the officers hit them all with batons until he could not breathe. They struck him on top of the head, leaving a large bump. They also struck him directly on the ear with the baton several times. The officers also collected money from each person in the group – the respondent said 13 euros were taken from him – and reportedly smashed some of their phones, before returning them to the group.

Injuries to the ear of the respondent resulting from the beating

After the group was transferred into two vans, they again where repeatedly hit until the van started moving. They were transferred twice into different vans and then dropped off outside the border in the early morning.