The respondent is a 21 years old man from Marocco. He was pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the night between Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd of December.
The respondent tried to cross the Bosnian-Croatian border together with his 34 years old brother, who has a walking disability since 14 years, and was using a crutch because of that. At the moment of the interview, the two brothers were stuck in Bosnia for 3 years and 7 months. In this time they had experienced many pushbacks, so many that the respondent had stopped counting them, he stated.
The location of the pushback was by the shores of river Korana, close to Koranski Lug, Croatia. The respondent recognized the location, because between 12 and 18 months ago, he stated that he did encounter the police once before at the same location. At that time, they did throw him into the water, as it would happen this time.
In the night between the 2nd and the 3rd December at the riverside, the respondent stated that they encountered six people they referred as “officers”. The last time the respondent checked his phone, it was about 22:00 o‘clock. The respondent described the uniforms of four of the officers as black on the outside, and blue on the inside. In addition to that, he recounted that they were wearing black ski-masks to hide their faces. According to this description, it can be assumed that these officers were part of the Croatian Intervention Police (Interventna Jednica Policija / IJP). These officers reportedly had two dogs with them. According to the respondent, there were two other officers, who were wearing military uniforms and black ski-maks. According to this description, it can be assumed that they were part of the Ekipa za Posebne Zadace (EPZ), a subunit of the IJP. The 6 officers arrived at the spot with two vans.
The brothers were apprehended. First they started to insult them and their mother using words the respondent did not want to repeat. Further on, the officers started to beat the respondent, first with their hands, then with sticks. The respondent begged them to not beat his brother, also because of his walking disability.
“Always when I said something, they beat me harder”, he stated.
They beat him seven times on the thorax, and afterwards on the head. “I could not speak, I cried too much. It was the first time in my life, I see people like that. They treated me like an animal“. Afterwards, they also beat his brother with sticks.
Further on, some of the officers told the respondent and his brother to give them their mobile phones, power bank, money and documents. They also took their backpacks, and brought the some meters away. Some moments later, the respondent saw fire there, and he assumed that the officers were burning their backpacks and documents. Then, reportedly, they asked the two brothers to take off their socks and shoes. There was snow on the ground, where the two men had to stand barefoot.
Some moments later, the officers pushed the respondent into the water, and afterwards his brother too. The respondent could not answer how long he was in the river. The thing he could remember when thinking about the river was that he was afraid to die.
“I die, I die, the river was deep and too much fast and cold. You can‘t imagine how much danger I experienced. I was scared too much!” He was also very scared what would happen with his brother, who could not swim well.
After an unknown period of time, somehow the respondent and his brother manged to grab the shore of the river and pull themselves out of the water.The respondent did not know where they were. The two started walking, barefoot through the snowy and frozen ground. During the interview, the respondent reconstructed that the location where they came out of the river was close to the coordinated 45°03’35.6″N 15°44’43.8″E, close to Šturlić, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After 5-7 km, they got to a street that the respondent assumed to have seen before. They found a little house close by, where they asked for help. The respondent reported that the people inside the house let them in, made a fire for them, gave them socks and shoes, and said “Allah be with you”.
At the moment of the interview, the respondent was still suffering from fever and cough. Moreover, he had a strong pain in his ribs and breathing problems. He assumed, that some ribs were broken from the beating of the officers.
“I am too much sad and angry. These are black days for me.“ He further on explained that since that night of the pushback he cannot sleep anymore, because bad dreams are disrupting his sleep and make him wake up regularly. He stated that he was also suffering from suicidal thoughts.