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Forced to spend two nights in a van

Date & Time 2021-04-04
Location near Velika Kladuša, Bosnia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.1840797, 15.8068421
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age unknown
Group size 9
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Iraq, unknown
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water, Forced to remain in van, were never in station
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unkown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, Detained without food or access to toilets
Police involved Croatian officers in dark green uniforms, 5 officers in dark blue uniforms with balaclavas and lights on their heads referred to by the respondent as "bled" group

On approximately the 4th of April, nine individuals were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia. An Afghan man in his mid-twenties gave this testimony.

The respondent set off from Bihać, Bosnia, with a group of single men from Afghanistan. The respondent described that on the first day after they entered Croatia, some officers discovered the group; 25 people were taken and pushed back. Those who escaped, continued on their journey, eventually joining another group.

The respondent described that after a total of 12 days walking through Croatia, they were on a small street near the 65 road in Croatia, when they were ambushed by the police. This time 15 people escaped (it is unclear what the original group size was).

However, the respondent and a friend of his were on their own after they escaped. They did not have phones or GPS. At that time, it started to snow. They went to a village to gather some sticks to make a fire to warm themselves, not knowing what to do. They continued on through Rijeka. Around 6pm, on the road towards Trieste, some uniformed men, described by the respondent as “commandos”, caught them – these officers wore dark green, greeted them politely, told them they had to leave and took them to the capital city. According to the respondent, at some point, they discovered that the respondent and his friend had previously escaped, and their attitudes changed.

In Zagreb, they were reportedly not permitted to leave the vehicle, a van, that they were in. The respondent claimed that they were given water, but no food, even though they asked for it, being in a weakened state from their long walk and the cold weather. They were reportedly kept in the van for two nights and one day and were not allowed to leave the van even to relieve themselves. The man making this report told his friend to use a bottle, to relieve himself, because the police were angry if they did so in the car.

According to the respondent, an additional group of seven people, three of whom were Kurdish, were brought to join them in the van. They were then taken to the border where other officers awaited them. These officers wore dark blue uniforms, black masks, and gold lights on their heads – the respondent referred to them as being from the “bled group,” it is unclear what this means.

According to the respondent, there were five officers: “One to watch, two to check bodies and two to beat the men”. The men were called two-by-two. First, they were checked completely, they were forced to remove their clothing and the officers even looked inside their mouths. Then the other officers hit them,

“They used their feet in our stomachs and hands in our face. When they checked our bodies, it’s a full body process.”

The people-on-the-move were told to sit and were then beaten eight times on each leg and once on the back and then on their heads and arms, then they were told to go. This took place at the border near Velika Kladuša.