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They forced us to undress completely and they searched us everywhere.

Date & Time 2022-02-28
Location Crkvine, Croatia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 43.53523197, 16.88142261
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 20 - 38
Group size 3
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 3
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, insulting, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, rectal examination
Police involved 3 policemen, 1 vehicle

The pushback took place on the 28th of February 2022 in Crkvine (Croatia) to Bosnia. The respondent started his journey with two other people on the 27th of February in Livno (BiH). He (38 years old) and another member of the group (20 years old) are from Afghanistan. The nationality of the other member is unknown (25 years old). The interview with the respondent was not recorded, so this testimony is assembled from notes taken, and there are no direct quotations of his words.

The group started in Livno (BiH) on foot. After 21 hours of walking without any break, they crossed the border and arrived in Studenci, Lovreć, Croatia. In Studenci they spent the night near a chapel called Musinac. The next morning, the respondent called a friend, who booked them online a taxi, which should bring them more in the center of Croatia. The taxi came at 08:45 AM. At first, the taxi driver was afraid to take them, but they convinced him by paying four times more than the normal price (450 € instead of 100 €).

After 15 minutes the police stopped them in Crkvine (Croatia). The group had to leave the taxi and the officers searched them directly on the road and took their mobile phones. Once apprehended they took the group to a police station. There they were led into a dark room, where they had to wait over three hours without water, food, or any possibility to go to the toilet.

The respondent was interrogated by the police. He told us that he had made a precise map for going on ‘game’, in which the policemen were really interested. There was also a woman present at the police station. She was not wearing a uniform or any other official sign. Apparently, she was very angry with the officers, and she shouted at them. She asked the respondent if he want to give his fingerprints to ask for asylum in Croatia. However, she only offered him this possibility and not his two companions. He didn’t want to let them behind, so he didn’t accept the offer.

Back in the room with the others, the policemen forced them to undress completely. They searched all their clothes and even found the money which was sewn into their jumpers. From the respondent, they took around 2340 €. This humiliating situation got even extended when the police examined them rectally. After the officers finished, they gave them some of their clothes back, but not their warm jackets. The respondent asked for water because they didn’t drink in 15 hours, but the officers denied this.

Afterward, three policemen brought the group by car to the “jungle”, a forest next to the border. They pushed them into a hollow and started to kick them very badly. They used batons and their feet to punch them. They hit the respondent very badly with a baton on his thigh. He is still in pain because of this and waiting for a doctor’s appointment to get help.

After the officers finished, they left them in the forest and in the cold without any orientation on how to go back. The respondent could not really walk, so the two others had to support him. Since they got arrested by the police they couldn’t drink or eat, and they had no warm clothes. They were very weak, desperate, and not able to walk all the way back. After they found a road, they were walking next to it, but no one stopped to help them. In the end, they found a Bosnian couple who took them by car to Sarajevo. The respondent paid them with his last money, 350 €.