On the April 4th, 2021, a group of 22 people was pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia. On approximately April 3rd, early in the morning, a group of 82 men from Afghanistan had crossed almost the entire Croatian interior. The group was first found by around eight officers. With the authorities approaching, the group split up and 22 people ran away. The respondent, who was part of this smaller group, describes that after running away, they were shortly after found again by eight Croatian officers.
The respondent describes the officers as wearing ‘army clothes’, which fits the description of the Croatian Special Police. The group of 22 was brought in two vans to a police station. According to the respondent, there, each group member had to write down their full name written on a piece of paper and was then photographed holding the paper – “like a criminal”. They were reportedly told to sign a document which was written in Croatian – no translator was present. One group member wrote the names of everyone in English letters and each group member signed it. None of the group members claimed that they would like to ask for asylum.
The group was reportedly kept in the vans for around 16-18 hours (during this detention they were allowed out once to relieve themselves) including the ride to the border between Bosnia and Croatia. The group of 22 were deported to the same location together, near the river and somewhat near to the town of Velika Kladuša. At this border location, there were around 10 officers in black uniforms including black masks. According to the respondent, the bags of all the group were burned on a fire. The entire group was demanded to lay face down on the floor. The officers reportedly beat each person with a tree branch. The respondent described it as being “hit on the bones”. The respondent was also kicked “all over the body” which included in the mouth. He described that he had blood in his mouth. When the group was allowed to stand up, they were told to “go” one by one. “When we started walking, they beat us again on the back.” It took the group approximately 6 hours to find their way to Velika Kladuša, entering the town past Miral camp.
The respondent indicated that he had been pushed back several times before, but never had he been beaten as badly as this. He had injuries all over his body, bruising on his back and open wounds on his legs and arms.