Around the 13th of February 2023 (the respondent does not remember the exact date because he tried to cross several times in the past weeks) two people from Morocco, aged 25 and 28 years, were pushed back from Croatia to Serbia. The interview was conducted with one of them.
The two young men were at the train station of Srijemske Laze (Croatia) and had just bought two train tickets. It was around 6:20 am, when one person that the respondent describes as wearing a blue uniform and identifies as a Croatian police officer approached them and asked for their passports.
The young men answered that they did not have passports, just their train tickets. The respondent reports that the officer slapped him hard with the hand in his face. He said: “Why do you come here? Don’t come here again”. The respondent replied: “I go to Italy, let me go to Italy and I won’t come here again”. The officer said: “I can’t”. He told the respondent that he has a camera on his jacket. The respondent is not sure if the small device on the front side of the officers’ jacket was a camera indeed.
The respondent reports that he said to the officer: “Look, take money and let me pass” but the officer answered: “No, I can’t”. The officer brought the two people to a car in front of the train station. The respondent labels the car as a “normal police car”, to differentiate it from a van. Reportedly, another officer- described as dressed in plain clothes -was sitting inside the car.
The officers asked the two men for their names and their parents’ names. The respondent further recalls that they also beat his friend on a leg with a baton, and that afterwards he was not able to walk because of the pain.
Reportedly, the two officers also stole their money. The respondent and his friend had to give them the phones and the money, but just the phones were eventually returned. When they were asking for their money, the officers said: “no money” and closed the door of the car.Eventually, they brought them to the Serbian border and at about 9:30 am they were pushed back to Serbian territory. At that point, one of the officers said: “Don’t come again, otherwise I’ll beat you a lot”.
The pushback location that the respondent points on the map is about two kilometres from the Croatian town of Podgrađe, which is bordering Serbia. However, he did not seem to be quite sure that this was indeed the location they were dropped by the officers.