“They beat him so badly that there was blood coming out of his ears”

Photo: Laszlo Toroczkai

I crossed the Hungarian border near the Kelebija crossing around the 15th of January, we were thirty people. After we got through the fence we walked forward a little bit, maybe half a kilometer. They caught us and they brought us back to the border near Horgoš. We were transported in a green car. Three of them were wearing full army uniforms, the rest were around ten police officers in blue uniforms, not many badges on them. There was some kind of marking on the uniforms but I wasn’t allowed to look up, so I didn’t see them. At the end there were four or five police cars, two or three small ones and the rest was big vans. They were white with some markings on them, like regular police cars. There was one dark van. I’m not sure if it was black or blue, it was very dark.

There was a mud track next to the border fence, they made us sit in this mud track in a line. We had to put our hands on our necks and put our heads down. They kept us in the mud from 1am to 3am, before deporting us. They were punching and kicking us. There was one dog; they took its muzzle off it for five minutes and took it around to scare us. They didn’t release the dog completely, but they were keeping it on a short leash and putting it very close to us. Then they put the muzzle back on, but it was still clawing on us, even on our faces. They took the dog away ten minutes before they let us go. They took one of us out of the line and they took all his clothes, leaving only a t-shirt and trousers and then they searched us. They left us all in one t-shirt and one pair of trousers.

There was one man and one lady, who were looking through our phones. They found something on one person’s phone and this man got beaten more than any of us. They beat him so badly that there was blood coming out of his ears. I don’t know what it was, what they found. He was a regular refugee, he wasn’t anyone special. They broke everyone’s phones, but more than anything they beat us.

They were indiscriminate with their beatings, it didn’t matter to them where they were beating us. They were using police batons and their hands. There were four 15-year old Afghan boys with us, they were treated the same way. The policemen don’t look to see how old you are; when they see you they start beating you. They were drunk. They’re always drunk, men and women. We could smell it [alcohol] during the search, when they were getting very close to us.

The money they found on us was ripped off and thrown on the ground. Food was thrown away. They took one shoe from each of us. If somebody had really bad shoes, they let them keep them. If the shoes were good they took one of them. The water they found in our bags was poured on our heads. It was minus 14 or 15 degrees this night. It was really, really cold. A lot of people got very sick afterwards.

Later on they gave us back one jacket each. They only did it after one of us got really sick. He was in a very bad shape so they gave it back.

When we were in the line they made us look down, anyone who would look up would get beaten. The women police officers were hitting us with the batons on our private parts.

They made us go back to the border, in groups of two. They made a video where they took our names, two by two. Then they sprayed us and two of them came with us to the Serbian side. At the beginning they didn’t spray all of us; they’d only spray you when you did something or said something you shouldn’t say. Those people were not on videos, they moved them to the side and they filmed everyone else. It was after the videos were taken when they did it to everybody. If anyone would try to touch their eyes their hands would get smacked. You can’t see anything for two or three hours. It’s spicy. And there are tears and tears and tears. Your eyes get red. Your face gets swollen and red.