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Go, go! Go to Bosnia!

Date & Time 2021-02-25
Location Bogovolja, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.0708255, 15.74024014
Pushback from Croatia, Slovenia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 17 - 27
Group size 5
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Iran, Tunisia
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 9
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, threatening with dogs
Police involved Police station: 6 Croatian police officers; during the pushback: 3 Croatian police officers, 1 police van

The respondent is an 18-year-old man from Tunisia. His family that he had been traveling with had left Croatia where they were staying in a family camp to try to go to Slovenia. When he got a message from his family saying they had arrived in Slovenia, the respondent went to the family camp in Zagreb at around 7 PM. But as his family was not in the camp anymore he was denied entry to the camp.

The security guard, which the respondent referred to as “camp police”, took him to a police station in Zagreb, where 5 male and 1 female police officers wearing light blue uniforms were present. After the arrival at the police station, the respondent reports that his passport, money, and backpack were taken by the police. He was allegedly forced to strip down to his shirt and underwear and to stay in a detention cell for around 7 hours. In the cell, there were two other people from Croatia sitting with him.

The respondent described that the police officers cut some of his clothes, trying to find hidden belongings. During detention, the respondent would have been handed two documents in Croatian language from the officers, that he was forced to sign. He reportedly asked for a translator, but got denied with the answer: “just sign”.

The respondent recalled that, at around 2 AM a police officer told him that they would bring him to the camp then. However, he was eventually brought to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina instead, together with 4 other people on the move, 3 from Afghanistan and 1 from Iran. The others were already waiting in a police van and told the respondent that they had just been pushed back from Slovenia to Croatia. At around 5 AM they arrived at a hilly forested area, where the 3 male police officers let the 5 people on the move out of the van.

The respondent describes that the police officers started hitting each of the men with batons on the shoulder, knees, and thighs for a total of about one hour. The respondent recalls that he could barely walk the estimated 14 kilometers to Velika Kladuša afterwards, a border town on the Bosnian side, due to the inflicted injuries.

The police officers also had dogs with them, which they reportedly used to threaten individuals from the transit group. The respondent asked one of the police officers if he could get his backpack back, but the officer replied, that he “is only driving and does not know anything about any backpack”. The officers started shouting “Go, go! Go to Bosnia!” to the group and forced them to walk to Bosnia-Herzegovina. After several hours of walking, the respondent reached the city of Velika Kladuša in the morning.