Skip to content
Support our work

Either way you will be returned to Serbia

Date & Time 2019-06-13
Location Budapest, Hungary
Reported by Escuela Con Alma
Coordinates 46.153629, 19.537612
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 25 - 25
Group size 1
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water, sleep deprivation
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 22+
Violence used forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 12 Hungarian police officers, 2 Hungarian officers in plain clothes, 8 Hungarian police officers at the border, 4 Hungarian police cars, 1 Hungarian police van

On June 13th at around 4:30 pm, a 25 year old Afghani person arrived in Budapest to switch planes on the way to central Europe. At a passport control of all passengers coming off the plane, he was apprehended by three police officers and taken to a police office inside the airport. According to the respondent, the police in the airport were wearing dark blue trousers, white shirts with their names on the chest and a trianglular label on the arm. Border officers asked him to enter an office, two minutes away from the passport control. In the office, he was told that the Chinese passport he carried with him was fake. In the following half hour he was interrogated by the three officers and was told to undress to get searched. The respondend had to hand in all his valuables which where put into a bag. He signed a log of his belongings, but when he got them back days (see below), certain valuables such as money and a watch were missing. The officers found his Afghani passport and took down the data. He was asked personal questions eg. about his origins, family and language. He was offered to make a call but when he asked for it he was denied it. When he asked for a doctor because of a headache, which he was previously offered by the oficers, he was denied as well.

After this first questioning, he was taken away in handcuffs and lead on a leash. He said: “The passengers around me who saw me looked at me shocked. I felt like a dog.” He was taken to a single cell where he was kept for what felt like 6 hours without food, water and access to toilet but was constantly told: “Not now”. The cell was described as completely empty and surveyed by a camera. Every five to ten minutes an officer checked his cell and woke him up when he fell asleep:

“Every time I fell asleep, an officer came, shook my arm and said: ‘Don’t sleep! you have to spend your time with us!'”

At around 1 am, three police officers whose uniforms looked the same as the ones before (the respondend referred to them as “regular police” or “airport police”) ordered him into a police car. After riding for approximately 10 min. inside the airport area he was taken into a high building, from which the respondent saw the airport runway close by. There, he was delivered to two persons in plain clothes who carried guns and radio devices, the respondent referred to them as “police officers” or “private officers”. The room he was taken to was full of monitors showing camera pictures of doors, escalators etc, the respondent suggested it was the airport cctv. In the room, apart from the two plain officers, there were a lawyer and a translator. In the following time, that felt like four hours, he was questioned. One of the officers lead the interrogation, the other sat next to the respondent. The questions were about his journey to Hungary, his intentions of travel and his false passport. He was asked if he would like to claim asylum in Hungary. When he asked about his options, he was told that he would be returned to Serbia either way. In the following, it was explained to him that because he entered the country illegally, he would be banned from Hungary for two years. Because of that, his claim for asylum could not be considered for two years. When the respondent insisted on his right to claim asylum, he was given some documents (5-6 pages) which he should show to the Serbian border police and they would decide on his case.

“Do you want to claim asylum in hungary? – What difference does it make for me if I ask for asylum or not? – if you don’t ask for asylum we will send you to Serbia, if you ask for asylum, we’ll send you to Serbia.”

At the end of the interrogation, he was forced to sign stacks of paper (according to him 50-60 pages), which were written in Hungarian. The respondent could not assure that the oral translation by the translator was correct. He was told that it was a transcript of the interrogation and the paper banning him from Hungary for two years. (“If you don’t sign, you will be here until you sign”). In a room two floors upstairs, where he was taken in hadcuffs, his foto, fingerprints and body height were taken. He was also forced to undress again to get searched.

At the dawn of June 14th, three police officers, who the respondent described to look like the officers in the airport, arrived to the building in a police car. Additionally they were wearing yellow safety vests. He was handed over to them, but neither of them spoke English so he could not get information on where he was going. He was told to enter a police car (caddy) and driven for around 20 minutes. At the arrival he was taken into a building, which he described as looking like a prison or a zoo. There were many empty small cells with iron bars and signs in different languages saying eg “don’t fight”, “don’t kill yourself”. In the cell, he was given two bottles of water and access to a toilet for the first time in more than 12 hours, but still no food. No one of the present officers answered questions about his status and whereabouts, the answer he go was: “no english”. He was still woken up every time he fell asleep. He was kept in this cell until around 8 am of the following day (June 15th). Then he was told to go to the toilet and was given back his luggage and valuables. In a small room his foto and fingerprints were taken again. Outside, he was handed to two police offiers in a police van that looked like the other officers in the prison. He didn’t get an answer when he asked where they would go. The back of the van was described to look like a prison, without windows. They were driving for around 2-3 hours. They stopped on the road between the two border fences close to the border crossing of Kelebia, at a door in the border fence. The respondent identified the approximate coordinates of “the door” due to an abandonned house close by and the dinstance he had later walked to the Kelebia border crossing, which was about 40 min. away (46.153629,19.537612).

At the door he was handed on to 8 Hungarian police officers in two police cars who didn’t speak english. The respondent described them as looking different from the officers before, although he could not remember the exact nature of the difference. He refered to them as “border police”. One of the officers was in plain clothes and carried a camera. He was told to walk back and forwards, “like a catwalk”, the camera man also filmed his head and face close up. They opened the door to the Serbian side, told him to “go away!”, and followed him with binocculars to make sure that he would not attempt to return back across the fence.

The respondent then walked for around 30-40 minutes to the border crossing of Kelebia to ask for asylum with the documents, as he was told in Budapest. But the Serbian as well as the Hungarian officers he approached told him to go away.