“They didn’t care if they were children or adults. They were beating us very strong”

This series of time-stamped posts are from interviews conducted on the 25th of February with various victims of Hungarian police brutality, during two separate crossing attempts on consecutive nights. They were interviewed and recorded on video by a journalist we have been collaborating with, Jaime Alekos, with the support of a translator who wishes to remain anonymous.

Interviewee: 20 years old from Pakistan [crossed into Hungary the night of the 22 February, 2017]

17:53 – Did you try to cross into Hungary three days ago?
17:57 – Yes, we crossed the fence and ran for about 10-20 minutes, we were about 70 people, and suddenly the police surrounded us, from the front and the back, and started beating us, they didn’t care if they were children or adults. They were beating us very strong, and from the point where we were arrested until back to the fence they beat us again and again until we reached the fence. On the way, they told us to squat with the head between the legs for one hour and they sprayed us. From there, when they brought us to the fence, they took our cellphones and broke them, then they told us to lay down on the ground and they walked on us.

18:35 – When they arrested you, what were they wearing and how did they look?
18:45 – When they arrested us they told us to sit down and not worry, we are here to help. They had sticks and also they were wearing police uniforms.

18:54 – What kind of uniform?
18:55 – Some of them were wearing balaclavas and asked us to squat. We were squatting. After that, they started to make a line with us.

19:05 – And then?
19:06 – They asked: Are you from Afghanistan or Pakistan? We were in the line and we put hands on the back of each other and they were beating us. They were beating us and brought us somewhere else and there they asked us to squat, those who moved were beaten. After that, they asked everybody to sit in a group very close to each other, they started beating us again us with both fists and feet. Then when we were coming back to the fence in the line, some of us couldn’t move, those who fainted were kicked on their kidneys and were forced to stand up again and keep moving.

19:38 – When the police arrested you, how many of them were there?
19:43 – Two policemen came from behind and the others from the front and slowly they were more and more, we were sitting among them. After that, they brought us to another place and told us to sit there.

19:55 – What did they tell you when they asked you to sit for the first time?
19:59 – First, they told us that there was no problem and when they made a line with us they started the beating.

20:07 – When you were in the line, what they did to you?
20:13 – What do you mean?

20:15 – Did they beat you?
20:17 – Yes, they beat me so bad that I couldn’t breath. Both my legs were swollen and they also kicked me on my chest and on my back, and I still have pain on my chest and back.

20:29 – Did they kick you, punch you or did they used batons?
20:33 – They beat us for four hours, from the moment they arrested us they were beating us. They kicked us, punched us and used their batons, but mostly they were kicking us and using the batons.

20:45 – Were they regularly beating you in these four hours?
20:48 – Yes, first we were sitting and then when we made a line, they didn’t stop beating us for a second.

20:56 – What did the police tell you?
20:58 – They were telling us “Welcome to Hungary”, they were beating us while they were saying “Good morning, good evening”. When they were walking with us in the line they sprayed us and they had some kind of liquid in bottles that they threw on us, it made our eyes swollen.

21:14 – When did they tell you “Welcome to Hungary”, during the beating?
21:17 – Yes, during the beatings, and they were also laughing.

21:21 – Apart from the beating, did the police throw water or something else on you?
21:25 – They had sprays and bottles with some kind of liquid that they threw on us, because of that our whole body was swollen.

21:36 – How were they throwing it?
21:37 – They were pouring some kind of liquid on us, and this liquid made us swell like the spray.

21:42 – Was there anyone in your group that fainted?
21:46 – There was one man who blacked out, the police were checking him and they released the dog on him to make him react. He was not moving, even when the police released the dog on him, he had lost consciousness.

21:58 – Couldn’t he stand up?
21:59 – He couldn’t stand up, but two boys carried him.

22:07 – What happened when they pushed you back to Serbia?
22:11 – When we arrived back to the fence, they searched us, took our mobiles and told us to lay down on the ground. Then they walked on us, they were walking on our whole body, I still have pain in my back. They made us lay down there for one hour or one hour and half. Then they pushed us into Serbia, they also got into Serbian soil behind us and there was a helicopter somewhere.

22:37 – How did they push you back into Serbia? Did they open a door?
22:40 – Yes, there was a door in the fence and they opened it and pushed us back into Serbia. They were behind us watching in Serbian soil, but we were moving very slowly because everyone was injured, no one was fine.

22:53 – When they were pushing you back into Serbia through the door, what did the police tell you?
22:58 – They didn’t say anything, they just let us through the door into Serbia and walked behind us.

23:03 – How many meters did the Hungarian police walk behind you in Serbian soil?
23:06 – They walked behind us for around 50 meters.

23:10 – When the helicopter came, was it above the fence, above Hungarian soil or above Serbian soil?
23:16 – As far as I know, it was above Serbian soil, close to the fence, and it was moving around, watching us.

23:27 – Did it come above Serbian soil?
23:28 – As far as I know, it was above Serbian soil, watching us.

23:33 – How did you go back to Subotica after that?
23:36 – I was with a group of friends and with a lot of effort we managed to get back to Subotica, there we bought train tickets to Belgrade.

23:49 – From near to the fence, you came by bus to Subotica?
23:51 – Yes, from there we came by bus to Subotica, it was 5am and from Subotica we bought train tickets to Belgrade.