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Deporting car have chili inside the car, all family cry

Date & Time 2021-03-04
Location 2km from Tovarnik, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.14926424, 19.161051
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Serbia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 8 - 41
Group size 7
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Syria, Tunisia
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 3
Violence used theft of personal belongings
Police involved 3 Croatian officers (male) in dark blue uniforms, 1 police van

On Saturday morning at 02:00 am the respondent and his transit group got stopped by 3 Croatian police officers on a dirt road about 1 km outside the town of Tovarnik. The transit group consisted of the respondent, one single man, and a family (1 man, 1 woman, and 3 children). The uniforms were described as dark blue, consistent with the uniforms worn by Croatian border police, driving a white van.

The officers started talking in English to the group “stop, police, don’t move” and ordered them to get “one by one into the car”.  Before entering the police van, the officers took the phone from the respondent, the other man, and the family. Inside the police van, the respondent describes that they realized a smell that reminded them of chili in the air, which made them cry and difficult to breathe. This could have possibly been due to a previous usage of pepper spray in the back of the van, but can’t be validated.

After what felt like around 20 minutes, the van stopped by the Croatian-Serbian border, telling the transit group to leave Croatia and “Go”. The officers only handed back the phone to the respondent. The respondent said this was due to the fact that his phone was turned off and the family had GPS activated on their phones.