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They made us sit like dogs

Date & Time 2023-01-02
Location Buzim, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.1093125, 15.9953125
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 20 - 45
Group size 8
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Palestine, Jordan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 11
Violence used insulting, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 7 Croatian police officers

The respondent is a 45 years old man from Palestine. He and his family, consisting of his pregnant wife (from Jordan) and 20-year-old son,  started to walk from Bosnia on Monday 2nd of January 2023 and entered Croatia, at about 11pm. 

Reportedly, after four hours of walking through Croatian territory, the respondent recalls seeing 7 people: he cannot remember how their uniforms looked like, as it was dark at that moment, but he identified them as Croatian police officers. Then, he reports that they were stopped and apprehended by the officers. 

The respondent tried to explain that he and his family wanted to seek asylum in Croatia, but the officers did not listen to him. 

Instead, they took from them all their money and electronic devices: they took their phones and they broke them. When they were returned, they were not usable anymore. 

After an amount of time the respondent perceived as one hour and a half, a vehicle arrived in the spot where they were, which the respondent describes as a “prison car” (a big black van with bars on the windows). The family was then loaded into the van, with five more Afghan minors, as the respondent can recount. 

In the vehicle, the people were feeling sick, they were vomiting and felt very tired. The respondent states that many of them were injured as well. Reportedly, the van stopped after what the respondent felt as being three hours of driving: the respondent reports that they were dropped off in Bosnian territory, in a forest, but he could not recognise the location.

When they got off the police van, the officers treated them very badly, they threatened them with batons, but as the respondent’s wife started crying and screaming, the officers reportedly stopped before beating them. The respondent recalls that they continued to insult them speaking Croatian.

Afterwards, he reports that the officers forced them to sit on the ground in a very uncomfortable position described by him as “How dogs sit”. They stayed in this position, on their knees on the wet and cold ground, for what he recalls being more than one hour and a half.

Eventually, the police left and they attempted to walk back towards Croatia. When they were about to reach Zagreb, the respondent states that he saw four people he identified as Croatian police officers who spotted them, loaded them into a car and drove them back, reportedly- again-  in Bosnian territory, in a place he recounts being 2.5 km from Buzim.