“They let us keep one shoe each”

Photo of the interviewed victim’s injury. Credit: Mario Badagliacca

I tried to cross the Hungarian border near Palic. We were four people, an Afghan family of three – a man a woman and 14-year old boy – and myself. We didn’t manage to cross, we got caught on the Serbian side. The Hungarian border police saw us from far away – they were already there when we came. We were laying on the ground on the Serbian side of the border when they found us. It was ten at night, about half a kilometer from the border fence.

They found us; they didn’t say anything. They shined torches in our eyes, made us stand up and put our hands up. Then they sprayed us. The spray burnt my eyes; I couldn’t open them, there was a lot of tears and a burning feeling. They sprayed us from a close distance, about half a foot.

There were four of them who came by foot. They were dressed in blue uniforms with some kind of badge on them, but they were shining torches in my eyes so I couldn’t see it. I know for sure they were Hungarians because of the language they spoke. They often come to the Serbian side when they see refugees hiding there.

They kicked me and I fell down. They kicked the other man and the child, and they fll as well. The woman was still standing. They didn’t kick her, they just hit her once with a police baton and started beating us.

They concentrated on our arms and legs. More than anything they were kicking us on our legs and knees. They were beating us for 15 or 20 minutes.

The reason why my leg got fractured is because they were hitting me very hard with the handle of the baton, they weren’t using the long bit. Before they had beaten us they made us take off our jackets, gloves, hats and boots. They let us keep one shoe each. They took our socks off. They let each of us keep only one trousers and one t-shirt. They made the woman take off her jacket.

They started searching through our clothes. They switched the mobile phones on. My battery was dead so the policeman took a baton and broke the screen. They took our money and ripped off in front of us. I had 70 euros and the Afghan family had 150.

We were still standing in only a t-shirt, trousers and one shoe on at the time. It was very cold, the frost was falling and it was about 10 degrees below zero. After that they yelled at us: Go away! Go back!

It was after eleven when they let us go. Later we were sitting on the ground when the Serbian [border] police arrived. They asked us why we are sitting here. We said we were beaten by Hungarian police. One policeman saw my leg and called an ambulance. It came and they bandaged me on the spot. They called us a taxi to Subotica. The Afghan family went to Šid, I don’t know their names. The Serbian police didn’t make a report. They only do that when you come back from the Hungarian side and we didn’t cross.