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"Serbian police officers beat us at the border, the jail, everywhere."

Date & Time 2024-01-01
Location near Subotica, Serbia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 46.169458934719, 19.624965642403
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station unknown
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age unknown
Group size 30
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, India
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, Limited access to outdoor areas, Limited access to higiene facilities
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), theft of personal belongings
Police involved 5 Hungarian policemen, 1 vehicle "Too many" Serbian police officers (exact number unknown)

The respondent is a 55-year-old Iraqi man. He reported being pushed back from Hungary to Serbia in January 2024. He was travelling in a transit group of about 30 people. The group consisted of people of various different nationalities, including Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians and Indians. About half of the group were women and three were minors.

The group crossed the border to Hungary near Subotica (Serbia). They were apprehended by 5 men whom the respondent identified as the Hungarian police. The group was driven in a vehicle back to the border, still near Subotica, and handed over to what the respondent identified as the Serbian police.  When asked how many Serbian officers were involved, the respondent simply replied with “too many”. He said some of the officers wore balaclavas.

The men in the group were beaten with batons by the Serbian officers. The officers took their phones and money.

After this the respondent was taken to what he described as ‘jail’, somewhere in central Serbia. He was detained there for 2 months. He said the place was ‘very bad’. Him, and other detainees, were regularly beaten by officers, were allowed to go outdoors only once a week for 5 minutes and were allowed to wash themselves only once a week. The respondent stayed in a small room of 2×3 meters with 2 other detainees. The food provided was inadequate, consisting mostly of plain bread.

After 2 months in the jail, the respondent was taken to a camp in Tutin where he stayed for 3 months.