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Everybody was silent, what more can be said in this situation?

Date & Time 2022-12-20
Location Border area in Ponikve
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.219227, 15.854221
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 20 - 33
Group size 5
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Pakistan, Guinea-Bissau
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 7
Violence used kicking
Police involved 7 Croatian Border police officers; 4 police cars

The transit group consisted of five young men. Besides the respondent, who is a 24 years old afghan man, two Pakistani young men of 20 and 22 years old and two men from Guinea-Bissau aged 20 and 33 years old.

They tried to cross Croatia by foot. The respondent stated that they started walking around 2 am in the night between the 19th and the 20th of December, starting from Velika Kladuša, and walked for about 3 hours. When they reached the border, there was a fence which three of them tried to climb over. At that point, they noticed that someone spotted them. The respondent reported that they saw some people that he indentified and referred to as “officers” and that he tried to hide in the forest on the Croatian side of the border, while the other 2 men were still hiding on the Bosnian side of the fence. They were approached by the officers that told them: “Hands up and come out, we know you are here”. The respondent stated that the 3 of them came out with their hands up and walked towards the officers.

He stated that there was one small car and 2 officers. The respondent also recalled that the officers apprehended them at that point. One officer of massive build (who looked like the boss”) started to kick all of them with his feet on their bodies. Reportedly, the kicks continued for about ten minutes.

Everybody was silent, what more can be said in this situation?” 

The respondent further explained that, afterwards, the officers started to search them, and checked their backpacks.

They took three phones; they broke two of them because one was already very old. They smashed the phones with a heavy object that they took out one of the cars and they broke the charging ports using keys”

After that, the respondent could recall that the officers made a call and later 3 other small cars arrived at the spot with 5 more officers. The respondent reported that the men were wearing dark blue uniforms. The description of the uniforms could likely march the uniforms usually worn by the Croatian Border Police.

They were held there by the officers for around 1,5 hours. The respondent stated that they were sitting outside all the time, and they were very cold. Eventually, around 6.30 am the officers opened the door in the fence and said: “Go back to Bosnia”. The transit group walked back towards Velika Kladuša for about 3,5 hours because they lost their way.