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We asked for asylum, they just say ‘be quiet, don’t talk anything’

Date & Time 2022-01-20
Location Staro Selo Topusko, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.212269, 15.92857
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 23 - 45
Group size 9
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran
Treatment at police station or other place of detention no translator present
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 12
Violence used no violence used
Police involved 12 officers in dark blue or black uniforms, 1 of them with black facemask, 1 patrol van (larger white car, with a blue stripe), 1 patrol car, 1 prisoner transport van (big white van, with a metal grid at the front part of the car)

On the night of Wednesday, the 19th of January 2022 to Thursday the 20th of January 2022 between 2 and 3 AM a group of three men, all from the region of Balochistan (two from the Balochistan region in Afghanistan and one from the Balochistan region in Iran) reported that they were pushed back from Croatian territory to Bosnian territory [approximate coordinates of the pushback-site: 45.212269, 15.928570]

The respondent is a 24-year-old man from Baluchistan, Afghanistan. He, his cousin (from Afghanistan, 28 years old), and another man (from Iran, 32 years old) started walking from the Bosnian town Velika Kladuša in Bosnia at approximately 5.30 PM. They recalled that they crossed the border on a small road to Croatia at roughly 9 PM. From there they continued their journey by foot to the small town of Glina, where they planned to take a bus to Zagreb the next morning at 9 AM. They said that they reached the outskirts of Glina between approximately 0.30 AM and 1.00 AM.

The respondent reported being apprehended by six men described as wearing dark blue uniforms, some wearing hats, immediately after they crossed the Glina-River (45.340682, 16.084773).

Location of apprehension

The respondent’s description of the uniforms corresponds to the uniforms worn by the Croatian border police and potentially the Croatian Intervention police. They had arrived in one larger white car, with a blue stripe, which seemed to be similar to a patrol van used to transport officers. Reportedly they asked the transit group how many people they were. Based on experience from his previous pushback, the respondent explained that they did not try to run and instead stopped directly and told the police that it was only the three of them.

After assuring the officers that they were only three people, four officers reportedly left with the car, and two male officers stayed with the group. The officers accompanied them to a garage very close to the location of apprehension (one officer walking in front, the other walking behind the group). The respondent was able to point at the exact location of the building, where they were escorted (45.338739, 16.085792).

Location of the place of detention

In the room, without furniture, windows, or heating they were reportedly asked to put all of their belongings in a pile next to the police officer, including the respondent’s phone and power bank. This was the moment when the respondent explained that the group tried to ask for asylum: “We asked for asylum, they just say ‘be quiet, don’t talk anything”. 

According to the respondent they waited for approximately 30 minutes in the room, but he was not sure, because at this time he already had handed his phone over to the officers. At that time another transit group of six men, aged between 23 and 45 from Pakistan were reportedly put in the same room. Similar to the original group, they were also asked to hand over their personal belongings. In that room, the two officers did not register the group members.

The respondent affirmed that after some time the whole group, now consisting of nine people (two transit groups) was told to enter in the back of a white van, bigger than the car before, with a metal grid in front of the only windows at the front part of the car. The description of this vehicle matches the prisoner transport van used by Croatian border police. After driving for what felt like 30 minutes to the respondent, the car stopped and they were asked to get out of the van. At this location, there were six more officers waiting in dark blue or black uniforms, one of them wearing a black mask covering the main parts of their face, which fits the description of the Croatian Intervention police. There were two cars, a smaller one and another van (but without metal grids), parked nearby. Again the description of the cars matched with a patrol car and a patrol van used by Croatian authorities.

They reached the actual pushback site at the Croatian-Bosnian border (45.212269, 15.928570) at approximately 2 or 3 AM. After leaving the van everybody was reportedly given back his personal belongings and ordered to walk in the direction indicated by the officers: “Go fast, faster!” From here the two transit groups walked for about 3 to 4 hours until the respondent reached Miral camp, the local camp in Velika Kladuša, at around 5 or 6 am.

“We just start walking again, then come here, to the camp of kladusa“.

Location of actual pushback site