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"They treated us like dogs, like terrorists"

Date & Time 2021-08-23
Location Deszk, Hungary
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 46.21727145, 20.22240811
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 24 - 30
Group size #N/A
Countries of origin Morocco
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, photos taken, personal information taken, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water, Handcuffed
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 3
Violence used destruction of personal belongings
Police involved Three Hungarian officer; one Iveco van

On August 20th, the respondent, a 24-year-old man from Morocco, crossed the border from Serbia to Romania by foot with two other men from Morocco.

The respondent explained that the transit group left from the Majdan vicinity crossed into Romania and travelled to Hungary, spending a night in a forest near the border, before finally reaching the town of Dezsk. After failing to cross the Tibisco river, the group decided to rest and spent a night in a lorry car park. They stayed there for three days without any food or water, until a local reportedly called the police after seeing them. The respondent recalled that a patrol arrived shortly after and started looking for the group. He and one of his transit group members fled but the remaining member, exhausted, stayed behind.

According to the respondent, they walked for approximately 12 km until they stopped by a house on the side of a road to get some water and charge their phone. The respondent said their host secretly contacted the local police and both he and his fellow transit member were apprehended as they were trying to escape through the nearby forest. The unit was reportedly composed of three police officers, with one described as wearing a camouflage uniform and driving an Iveco van.

The respondent recounted that the transit group’s bags were searched and they were driven to what he referred to as a police station and put in a cell with no access to food or water, despite the respondents’ requests. The room was not equipped with any windows, according to the respondent, adding there was no ventilation and extreme heat within the cell.

As they were reportedly instructed to stand so they could be transferred, one of the officers put handcuffs on both transit group members which were tied to their stomachs, which were tied to a rope held by one of the officers. As the respondent protested and pointed out the illegality of the practice, he was ignored by the guard. “They treated us like dogs, like terrorists” he recalled.

The transit group was then reportedly brought to the crossing point they originally went through. They joined a group of 17 other detainees, mainly from Afghanistan. As they were asked to kneel and put their hands on their head, another officer who was reportedly already on the scene took the respondent’s phone and destroyed it. The respondent said he then took a picture of both members of the group and left.

According to the respondent, they were then let free from the handcuffs and escorted back to the Serbian side of the border.