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Don't say you're 17!

Date & Time 2020-11-17
Location Horgos, Serbia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 46.17705203, 19.97125626
Pushback from Hungary
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 2 - 17
Group size 8
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved Unknown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking
Police involved Mixed group of 10 Hungarian policemen in blue uniforms and army officials in camourflage uniform, 6 dogs and 4 cars.

The interviewee reported that he crossed the border with Hungary through a forest next to Horgos, Serbia, with a group of seven other people from Afghanistan – two of whom were 17 years old. The group entered Hungary at approximately 23:00 on 16th November 2020. Four hours later, at about 03:00 a.m. on the following day (17th Nov.) they were apprehended by a group of 10 soldiers in camourflage uniforms, accompanied by police in blue uniforms. The officers had 6 dogs with them – all of them wearing muzzles. The members of the group were reportedly kicked and beaten by the authorities upon capture.

Afterwards the transit group were loaded into a police vehicle and driven to the border crossing at Roske/Horgos, where they were made to walk back to Serbia, escorted by the Hungarian officers. On the Serbian side of the crossing there were several policemen waiting for the group. There was some interaction between resepective officers and the respondent understood this process to be an organised “handover”- suggesting that the Hungarian officials were meeting their Serbian counterparts with the words “here you go”:

Upon being returned back into Serbia, the interviewee and two more people of the group were taken to the closest police station, where their faces were scanned and their fingerprints taken. They were monitored by Serbian officers while being detained. One of the group members was asked about his age by one of the policemen. When the minor replied saying he was 17 years old, the officer reacted angrily and struck him, shouting:

“Don’t say you’re 17, say you are 18 or 19”

The group were detained for an hour in the police station. After this the Serbian police released them. This occured on the morning of 17th November 2020.