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They took us out of the van and beat us one by one, they beat even the kids

Date & Time 2018-12-21
Location Grabovac, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 44.86710294, 15.75896334
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 16 - 23
Group size 19
Countries of origin Syria, Morocco, Algeria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 7
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other)
Police involved 2 police officers wearing blue uniform with batons and guns, 1 civil car, 3 police officers wearing blue uniform with batons and guns, 1 van, later 2 officers in plain clothes

The group of 10 men from Algeria and Morocco left Bihac on December 18, 2018, and walked along the Korana river (HRV). While they were walking, at around 5.30 am, a 16−year−old Moroccan boy fell down the hill. Considering the fall, the Moroccans in the group believed that their friend didn’t survive and decided to keep on walking. The respondent and his friend though, decided to search for the fallen person. After walking around for three hours, they finally found him. They immediately called a number he took for the police‘s number and told the person answering, that someone fell and might be in need of help. The number he called was an emergency phone number, he found in the phone’s address book and believed that it was the 112 number. The fallen boy was in poor shape, he had two broken legs as well as a broken back and his face was destroyed, the nose probably broken, the respondent recounted. They picked him up on his shoulders and legs and started walked, hoping to find somebody who could help them. After seven hours walking through the snow, they finally found a house where they dropped the boy off. They knew that people were inside because smoke was coming out of the chimney.

The two friends then both walked until Grabovac (HRV) where a civilian car came up to them with two persons inside wearing blue uniforms.

The one who catch us at the bus station had a baby face, he looked nice, but in the end, he was the one who beat the worst”

While they were waiting with the two officers, a van with three more officers arrived.

“They arrive and they get out the van and they start beat us with batons. They hit my leg.”

The two friends tried to explain to the officers what happened to the Moroccan boy, but they didn’t give them any chance to speak.

Afterwards, they were driven in the windowless backspace of the van for around 40 minutes. At one point, the van stopped and a group from Syrians, three women, two children and four men entered. The altogether eleven people on the move were then driven for another hour to the Bosnian border.

They took us out of the van and beat us one by one, they beat even the kids.”

At approximately 9 am, the officers took the respondent out of the van at the border and beat him again at his leg and back with batons.

lt’s like a line, one after one, when you run, one [officer] beats you again”

At the border, there were two officers wearing plain clothes, two officers with the car and three officers from the van. The latter were the same who had caught them at the bus station. The driver of the van was about 45 years old, overweight, with somewhat blonde hair, wearing a blue uniform. The others were all young according to the respondent, wearing the same blue uniforms and carrying batons and guns on their belts.

After being pushed-back, the group walked back to Velika Kladuša (BIH) and arrived there at approximately 1 am.