Case Studies

Hungary: Violence against a child

Published:

A 14-year-old Afghan asylum seeker was beaten by the police repeatedly during his detention in the Roszke transit zone.

Despite being only 14-years-old, the victim was detained, along with his seven-year-old brother, together with a number of adults. An already traumatising experience was made worse by the fact that there was nobody else who spoke Pashtu, meaning they could only speak to one another.

Even though the victim was a minor, he was assessed as an adult in the transit zone by a doctor who only looked inside his mouth.

In total, the victim was beaten seven or eight times, including on three occasions in his room, and on multiple occasions in the presence of his seven-year-old brother.

The victim believes that on one occasion he was beaten, it was because of his refusal to take medication, was forced upon him three times a day: two pills in the morning, two more at lunch time, and two in the evening. He was also given injections. He wasn’t told what the medication was for, but they made him sleepy.

He would try anything to avoid taking the pills, which made him too tired to play football with the other children. On occasion he would hide in the toilet, but the guards would then order him to “Come out you dog!”

The victim was taken to the transit zone ambulance room in handcuffs twice, because he didn’t want to take his medication. The victim claims to have been taken to hospital 14 times.

During his medical examinations, the victim was never provided with interpretation, neither in the transit zone, nor when he was taken to the local hospital. There was one occasion when another person tried to help, but he was an Iranian asylum seeker who just happened to also be there. Unfortunately, the Iranian asylum seeker only spoken Farsi and English, so the victim still couldn’t understand what was happening.

The victim tried to explain repeatedly that he did not want to take the medication, but to no avail. On one occasion, in response to his efforts, his mobile phone was taken away and broken by officials.

There was no criminal investigation regarding the ill-treatment of the victim. The victim’s lawyer applied to the European Court of Human Rights about the case.

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