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They started beating us with batons and pushed us into the river

Date & Time 2018-08-13
Location forest close to route 1, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.2196929, 15.57516281
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved no
Age unknown
Group size 22
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), pushing people to the ground, insulting, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 6 Croatian officers

The interviewee and 10 other men, all from Afghanistan, walked from Starlik (Bosnia) to Croatia. After three days of walking, they crossed the Road 1 in Croatia, and continued into a forest where they were caught by the Croatian police. The police searched the men’s bodies, searching for their money and mobile phones. They stole all the men’s money and broke their phones. The interviewee told the police his name and nationality, and asked them whether he could apply for asylum in Croatia. But the police did not allow him to speak and when he or other men tried to say something, the officers responded by physically attacking them. Afterwards, the men together with 11 other Pakistani males were directly deported to Bosnia with a police van. According to the interviewee the police were driving very fast. After one hour, the men arrived at an area close to the official check-point in Velika Kladuša, where they were handed over to Croatian police officers, who were supposed to deport them back to Bosnia. These police officers were acting violently against the men:

When they brought us to the border, they handed us over to other police men, in blue shirts. They kept telling me, “Picko matre, picko matre”. They told us to put our hands behind our heads and put a wooden stick to each under our elbows. They sprayed our eyes [with an irritant spray]. They started beating us with sticks [batons] and pushed us into that river,  two were beating us to go into the water and two when we were coming out of the river on the other side, shouting at us, “Go!”. All 22 people were beaten.

The interviewee did not remember the faces of the police officers because it was dark. The police kept pointing torches into the men’s faces while they were beating them, so they could not see anything, only the lights. Following the violent incident, all the men walked back to the makeshift camp in Velika Kladuša.