On 1st October, six Moroccan men passed the Serbian-Hungarian border fence and were stopped by 10 officers after walking for 25 minutes (around 1,400m from the border). It was around 1.30am and very dark so they could not see much but could hear a drone above them which the respondent felt sure indicated their location to the authorities. The respondent emphasised that they were not police but 10 officers wearing military uniform. The respondent was unable to identify the officers further because they immediately shone their torches straight into their eyes and he recalled only one vehicle – a black Toyota Hilux.
Having apprehended the group, the officers started to shout and hit them to get each man to lie down on the floor. Lying on the floor of the forest, the group was consistently kicked for 5 minutes all over their bodies. Most being violated by two officers per person. The respondent described being asked to then empty the contents of his bag which he had been asked to place in front of him. He took out money, his phone, a power bank, food and hygiene products. His phone and power bank were smashed by an officer who then placed it back on the floor in front of him. The officer then picked up his toothpaste and liquid Betadine and poured and spread it all over the respondent’s head. The officer then picked up two boxes of sardines from the floor and shouted, in English, that he must eat all of the sardines in the box in a minute, showing a timer on his phone, otherwise he would be beaten up. The respondent did not finish the sardines. The officer poured the rest of the fish over his head and he was beaten again.
The respondent explained that others in the group were also forced to eat whatever food they had in their bags off the ground from a lying down position as the officers shouted that they were dogs amongst many other insults and swearing. The respondent had his face pushed into the mud and a large puddle by an officer who held him down by standing on his head with his boots. He was then forced to eat a snail that was kicked towards him by another officer without using his hands.
The respondent further recalled that this sequence of violence lasted for just over an hour. He said that there was so much shouting and repeated beating that it was very difficult to concentrate on what was happening and that with the torch light, loud noises, insults and beating, he was very disoriented.
The officers then forced them to stand up, form a line, and walk 500-600m with their hands behind their heads to where they would be picked up by a minibus. Here they were asked to kneel on the floor with their hands still behind their heads for 30 minutes while they waited.
Two Hungarian policemen arrived in a minibus at which point the respondent clearly stated that any violence or verbal harassment from the officers stopped. The group entered the bus which then drove to collect some other people and they were all taken to the police office on the Hungarian side of the border.
As each person came off the bus at the station they had their photo taken and their bags returned. They were escorted through the station and sent out by the police to cross the border into Serbia at the Horgos border crossing.