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If you say anything about being hit, next time we'll kill you

Date & Time 2023-01-05
Location Sombor, Serbia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 45.7601338, 19.1106068
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved no
Age 25
Group size 10
Countries of origin Syria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 5
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 5 Hungarian officers. Respondent only visually remembers 2 - one wearing green uniform, one wearing black. Neither had a visible flag on their clothing. 2 vehicles - 1 standard white Hungarian police car, 1 bigger 4x4 police car

The respondent, a young Syrian man, came over to give a report on this pushback incident due to the severe injury that was inflicted on him on the early hours of the 5th January. He explained he left from Sombor, Serbia in a group of 22 people to cross the Hungarian border fence, which they did at midnight on the 5th January. 10 out of 22 men in this group were immediately apprehended on the other side of the fence, in the forest. He explained that it was very dark and they were found by the men in uniforms walking with torches. He could barely see the officers ahead of him but recalls the two who were directly involved in the violence enacted on the group. Three other officers were reportedly present but they stood at the side. He could not see them but could hear them laughing.

According to the respondent, the two men in uniforms who stopped them, one wearing a green uniform and the other black, picked up wooden sticks from the forest floor in order to beat members of the group. The respondent was severely injured on his left arm. One of the officers had repeatedly beaten him on the same place on his upper arm. It was only a few hours later that we met him at which point he was not able to move his arm at all and it seemed possible that it was broken. Seeing the respondent again a few days later, it was clear his arm was not broken but so bruised he still could not use it. He also incurred a lot of bruising over his thighs and hands from being beaten and estimated that the entire group was being beaten for around 30 minutes.

The respondent expressed with surprise that his phone had not been broken and so he said the officers “were not so bad”. He explained that he said this because usually he has heard that they smash peoples phones. However, they reportedly did take 100 euros directly from him whilst insulting him repeatedly – saying ‘fuck you’ and ‘if you say something about being hit, next time we will kill you.’

According to the respondent, the group of 10 were taken back through the border fence, photographs of all of them were taken at around 2.00 am and then they were pushed back through a gate in the fence. In severe pain and cold, the respondent, with his arm immobile, described spending the night in the ‘jungle’ -forest- on the other side of the border. In the morning, they took a taxi back to Sombor which was around an hour drive.