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"The authorities proceeded to beat them with their truncheons and electric sticks"

Date & Time 2021-10-15
Location Kupinik, Serbia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 45.19839301, 21.24428322
Pushback from Romania
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 14 - 21
Group size 36
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 10
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, insulting, electric shock, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 10 Romanian police officers with 3 vans and unspecified number of Serbian police officers after the pushback

The respondents are five 17-year-old people from Afghanistan. On the night of the 14th to 15th of October, around midnight, they crossed the border from Serbia to Romania with 31 other people from Afghanistan, the majority of the people of the group were 17 years old but there was also a person was 14 years old. After they had been walking for around five hours, 10 officers of the Romanian police stopped them. They were apprehended at a highway near the Romanian village of Partos and ordered to stop.

The respondents described the police officer’s uniforms as the border police uniforms. The authorities went closer and forced all group members to stop, after this, they proceeded to beat them with their truncheons and electric sticks. One of the respondents has a swollen ankle result of aggression. They were carrying a gun as well, using it to only scare us.

“They don’t use them but always carry them.”

After this, police officers asked them about smugglers and if they knew who was the smuggler in the group to everyone, but mostly to the people with English-speaking skills.
After this, they took their phones and backpacks and stole a total amount of 600€ from the 36 members of the group.

No translator was present at the pushback so only English speakers were able to understand part of what the police officers were saying.
No photos or fingerprints were taken but a video of everyone -stopping for a few seconds at every face-was taken.

After the aggression police put them in their vans and drove them back to Serbia. They were driven to Kupinik, one of the first villages of Serbia, close to the Romanian border, and they had to start walking without their belongings: no phones, no backpacks. While the respondents were trying to find a taxi to go back to the city, Serbian police officers intercepted them and asked
them for money. Serbian police officers took a quantity of almost 400€ from the 36 members of the group.

During the interview with the respondents, they were asked if they asked for asylum at some point. They answered that they did could not even think about it.