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It was so hard, it was horrible

Date & Time 2021-01-04
Location Bosanska Bojna
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.198322, 16.029863
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 7 - 41
Group size 12
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 8
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), pushing people to the ground, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 8 Croatian border policemen, 1 van

A family from Afghanistan crossed the border from Bosanska Bojna, Bosnia into Croatia on April 1st.  According to the respondent, their journey was very difficult as it is slow to travel with a family. 

The family had only walked a few kilometres into Croatia. After they entered the country, they reportedly made a call. The respondent described the number they called as an “IOM phone number”. According to him, the IOM, the International Organization for Migration, told them to wait at the location. But, meanwhile, the respondent described, a car of the border police saw them, while they were waiting in the forest. According to the respondent, when the Croatian officers arrived, they asked them some questions like: “Where are you from?”, “Why do you come here?” Their final sentence was “You are deported!”. The family reportedly asked them for asylum. According to the respondent they just said: “We cannot, you just go! Go!”

As the respondent described it, the police looked angry and ordered them to hand over their phones and power banks. After they did so, the officers started to check in every clothing and every part of their bodies. The respondent described that while strip-searching them, the policemen also checked women’s bodies. They also ordered the men of the group to fully undress. The respondent recounted that at the same time, police officers also checked the kid’s bodies. One of them was seven years old. They asked them to stay in a position with the arms raised so they could check their bodies more easily.

After the examination, the police reportedly asked all the family to separate, the men on one side and the women and children on the other. As the wife of the respondent did not want to get separated from her husband she did not move. According to the respondent, the police then pushed the woman and she almost fell to the ground.

All the men of the families and one minor had to walk a few meters towards the lush forest, it was there that they reportedly ordered them to lay on the ground. The respondent described that it had just snowed so the ground was extremely cold. All the men had to lay down in the snow onto their bellies just wearing their underwear. The respondent claimed that four of the eight officers started beating them with batons, after some seconds, they ordered them to stand up again, but they kept beating them. According to the respondent, his sons were hearing how the police were beating them.

“It was so hard, it was horrible…”

“My family had to wait 15 minutes while the police were beating me.”

Afterwards, the police asked all of them to get into the vehicles. They dropped them at the border and told them to walk back into Bosnia.