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They grabbed him and smashed his head against the ground, breaking his teeth

Date & Time 2017-02-22
Location Hungary, border with Serbia near Bački Breg
Reported by Fresh Response
Coordinates 45.92563249, 18.95347595
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved no
Age unknown
Group size 45
Countries of origin unknown
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 40
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, smashing one's head against the ground
Police involved 30-40 police officers, helicopter

On February 22nd, 2017 a group of 42-45 people on the move crossed the Hungarian border from Serbia near Bački Breg. The group included three or four minors and five to ten elderly people. After midnight the fence was cut and the group got through. Just after moving through the fence they looked back and saw a police car behind them, the police saw that the fence had been cut.  The group of 42-45 people walked for about an hour before getting to a main road. The group saw police cars on the other side of the road who where looking for them, there was also a helicopter. The group then hid in a field next to the road. The police looked for them for about 20–25 minutes, about 30–40 police officers. The group was spotted, as they were caught in the lights from the helicopter.

Five minutes later the police arrived and started screaming and shouting at the group of people who where all sitting, and proceeded to beat them with batons hitting every person numerous times, and kicking them. The police kept hitting and kicking them for about 15–20 minutes. The interviewee describes that people where beaten so badly that they where crying very loudly, and that the police were both hitting at the group, but also individual beatings.

“You would think that they wouldn’t hit the elderly and the minors, but they hit them just as much. They didn’t even bother to see who was older and who was younger; they just started hitting us right away.”

One person was caught individually and not along with the group of  42-45 people, the police beat him individually for about half an hour while questioning him about where his group was. The police grabbed him and smashed his head against the ground, breaking his teeth. Blood was coming out of his ears and from his nose. His mouth was cut where the teeth had been broken. When the police dropped the group off in Serbia, this person was unable to move and the group carried him to the Horgoš transit zone.

The interviewee describes that the policemen were humiliating and laughing at the group while beating them, saying things like: Muslims are animals. The police ordered them into a line and made them sit down. The police asked each person where they were from while still hitting them.

“Whenever they felt like it, they would hit you. If one of us was sitting in a different way than the others or if the line wasn’t straight, they would drag them out of the line and would beat them and push them back saying: Sit straight! In my whole life I’ve never been that scared. I’ve never been beaten this way and I’ve never seen anyone who was beaten this way.”

The police then searched through their belongings, and made them undress while still beating them. The group of people where ordered back into a line and got their clothes back. The group was then ordered into a police van that brought them back across the border. The police ordered the group to stand in a line again and one of the police officers held a can of teargas up towards them, then a Serbian police car arrived, and the interviewee estimates that this caused the police officer not to use the teargas.

The police then ordered them to read a loud a paper stating something along the lines of: We crossed the Hungarian border illegally. We know know that we can go legally through a transit zone, if we experienced any violence we can report it. But without any information as to how or where one could do this. ´The police filmed them as they were reading. Afterwards the Group was deported and forced to the Serbian side of the border.