The respondent is a 13-years-old boy who was pushed back with 16 men, aged between 20-35 years old, from Hungary to Serbia, around the Serbian town of Subotica, on the 28th of October, at 5 pm. During the interview, he is supported by 2 adults friends.
On the 25th of October, the group started to walk to the border point and slept in the forest for one night, and on the 26th of October, before sunrise, they crossed the hungarian fences. After walking for some time in hungarian territory, they were spotted by some officers who arrived there in 3 black jeeps. The respondent says that he cannot remember the number, but he recalls that they were wearing green-brown uniforms and carried 2 dogs, guns, batons, and pepper spray with them.
He reports that they let the dogs free and started beating people. He also recalls that he could not see anything because they were shining flashlights in people’s eyes. Reportedly, they stole 200 euros and his mobile phone from the respondent, and after taking 2000 euros in total from the group, they let the people go, but the boy recounts that they let dogs chase the group while people were running back into the forest.
Once they were far enough, they hid among the trees and at that point, a person who spotted them opened fire randomly, pointing a weapon towards them. The respondent could not be sure whether this person was a civilian or not because it was dark, but he thought he could be a person guarding that area of the forest. They spent another night sleeping in the “jungle” (term used to refer to forested areas) and had a very hard time, because they had no more food or water, and one of them even ate an unfamiliar fruit out of hunger and got very sick, probably poisoned by it.
On the 27th of October, in the forest, they met 3 other people in the same situation and helped them; then, they decided to wait among the trees for a while. After a short time, many cars and people he guessed to be hungarian police and military got there and searched the area with flashlights and sensitive cameras, but they could not find them.
After a while, though, when they started walking again, they were spotted and apprehended by the same people the respondent refers to as “border guards“. The boy, who could not see exactly how many people there were and their uniforms because it was night and they were shining lights in people’s eyes, says they realized that there were so many of them that they could not escape anywhere. He can recall about a jeep with a radar on it and some officers wearing black uniforms and black balaclavas.
7 people in the group managed to escape into the forest, while 7 were violently stopped using electroshock; the respondent recounts that he also suffered electric shock in the back of his arm. Reportedly, the officers also handcuffed 10 people to a wired fence in the forest, with their arms up. The respondent reports that when his arms started to get very tired, he tried to speak, but one of the people in black uniforms kicked him and used pepper spray in his face.
“They tortured us there, my arms were very tired, they used pepper spray in my face, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak. They kept shining flashlights in our eyes so we couldn’t see them. But I saw people in black uniforms and masks, they were the ones who beat us. I told one of them that I was very thirsty but he kicked me in the face shouting that there was no water. My upper lip started bleeding, I asked for a tissue but they hit me again.”
Afterwards, the officers forced the transit group to walk 6-7 kilometers in handcuffs. They brought there with them 7 more people (the ones that managed to escape earlier), handcuffed as well, making a total of 17 people. They forced everyone to lie on the ground in a circle and kept beating them. The respondent says that one of the “soldiers” spoke a little bit of arabic and that the following dialogue took place between them:
“Officer: You are hiding your money in vain, you know we will beat you and we will find your money.
-Respondent: What have we done to you? let us go to Sombor.
-Officer: It’s a long time before you can go to Sombor (laughing)”
These people in black uniforms handed the group over to other authorities the respondent refers to as “border police“. The new officers took them to a 3-story police station with many police cars around it. Ten members of the group were kept in a room overnight. The respondent describes: “They put 10 people in a cell that could only hold 3 people. They didn’t give us food, but they continued to eat in front of us, making fun of us by saying that they are not Muslims, they eat pork and they can’t give us food. They took the food from our own bags and fed it to the dogs. They insisted that we go to the countries that waged war on us, to America, to Turkey, “why are you coming here? As long as you keep coming here, we will keep beating you.””
On the 28th of October, after everyone’s photo was taken at, the respondent recalls that, around 1 pm, he and 16 others were loaded in a vehicle “with a cage inside” in which they could barely breathe and were driven for around 2-3 hours. The respondent states:
“We were treated as only people who have committed murder can be treated. And we didn’t do anything to them.”
Eventually, while 2 officers took the 17 people to the border, 5 officers pushed them back by opening the gates. Before that, their shoelaces were removed so that they could not run away, the respondent emphasizes. He also says that they were pushed back in a spot far away from where the police apprehended the group, which was in the proximity of the serbian town of Subotica. The respondent states that they gave the bags back to the people and took photos of them, and that the bags were empty.