The respondent is a 25-year-old man from Iraq. He explained that he was part of a group of 10 people of Turkish and Syrian origins that was pushed back from Budapest, Hungary, back to Horgos, Serbia.
The respondent reports that around 3 AM during the night of Thursday 15th of September the group left their informal settlement in the northeast of Serbia, near Majdan, to reach Hungary. The group walked towards Romania, before reaching Hungary. They arrived in the proximity of Szeged around 3 AM the next day and then embarked in taxis to reach the outskirts of Budapest around 6 AM. The group walked towards Budapest train station for 4 hours, and eventually, they arrived at the train station around 10 AM.
The respondent recalls that the apprehension happened on the train in Budapest train station. The train he was on was about to leave for Prague, when 3 police officers entered the wagon and approached him. They asked where he was from and he answered: “from Iraq“. The respondent also asked where they were from, they answered: “from Hungary”. He doesn’t remember if they had any logos recognisable signs on their uniforms. The policemen were dressed in dark blue uniforms and spoke to him in English. They asked him, “What are you doing here?”, and he answered he was going to Europe. At that point, they told him: “You have to go back” and they insulted him. One policeman caught him and two started hitting him. According to the respondent, the passengers on the train were seeing the scene but didn’t say anything. The policemen then hit him with a baton, hurting him on the hand (see photo) and below the knee. He described the pain to be acute and as a result, impeding him to walk properly for 3 days.
Out of the group he was with, he was the only one whose money was taken. The 3 policemen with dark blue uniforms, then, took him off the train. According to him, they didn’t body-search him, but stole 370€ he had in his pockets. They put handcuffs on his legs and hands. He recalls that it was hurting as it was tightly tied. The respondent asked them to loosen the handcuffs, but the answer was “no”. The officers took the respondent’s shoes off and insulted his family.
The respondent was then put in a white van that had windows that had been blacked-out. Around 20 people were already in the van. At the moment of apprehension, the police had taken his bag and gave it back to him once he was in the van by throwing it in the back. The other passengers then took the bag from him. According to the respondent, they took his food from his bag and he had to defend himself in the van as he was the only one with handcuffs.
The respondent recalls that the police, with the van, returned with the group to the Horgoš border. The drive took around 4 to 5 hours. The way it was driven was bad, in cold temperatures. He was dressed just in a T-shirt and had no shoes. After the drive, the respondent had to wait in a police station on the border with the other people who had been apprehended. He had no more money, bags, or shoes.
The respondent explained that because he had been walking for almost 3 days, he had not drunk water except water from puddles. Therefore, he asked for some water. The officers said yes, but then laughed at him and said “not for you“. But the man recalls that they gave water to the other detainees who, according to him, were of Indian origins. Before he was pushed back the officers took a video of him and all the people apprehended.