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Croatian men in uniform faking to take a group to the hospital in order to push them back to Bosnia

Date & Time 2022-01-28
Location Đurin Potok, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.12555, 15.784915
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 26 - 26
Group size 10
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved Six
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, reckless driving
Police involved Six men in dark blue uniform, one white van, two cars

The respondent is a 26-year-old woman from Afghanistan. She fled her country with her husband three years ago and arrived in Bosnia three months ago. She explained that, together, they try to cross the border to ask for asylum in Croatia every day from Monday to Friday. She even added that sometimes, when they are pushed back by the police in the morning, they try again later in the afternoon. She hence stated that she has lost count of how many times she attempted the journey.

On January 28th 2022, the respondent reported that she, her husband along with two other families including three babies and two young children, left Velika Kladuša at approximately 4 AM. They walked for around 45 minutes and crossed the border somewhere between Pasin Potok and Maljevac. They then walked for about an estimated three hours towards Cetingrad.

The respondent explained that when they got to Cetingrad, they directly went up to what she described as a police station in order to ask for asylum there. The location of the station is here. She declared there were around ten people dressed in dark blue uniforms in the building. The group immediately asked for asylum saying “need asylum” but the men in uniform did not listen to them. The respondent added that she asked for a doctor for the other woman travelling with them because she was sick. One uniformed man then told them to get in the van claiming they would take them to a hospital. She further explained that not even three minutes after they had entered the station, they were already in the back of a van being driven to the border.

The van was described as an unmarked white van which had no windows in the back. It was escorted by two white cars with a logo described similarly to the Croatian police car. The respondent reported that the ten of them sat in the back of the van on metallic benches without any real grips. The respondent stated that the men in uniform drove recklessly, purposefully pushing down the brakes violently so they would fall onto each other. The respondent added that the police had put the air conditioning on cold so that it was freezing inside.

They arrived at the border in Đurin Potok (45.125550, 15.784915) at around 9.30 AM. The respondent reported that when they were taken out of the van, the sick woman fell to the ground. The group tried to ask for help but the six uniformed men simply laughed and told them to leave and “go Bosnia”. The respondent explained she insisted and asked for some medicine but one of the men punched her on the shoulder to make her silent. She added that the sick woman’s child, who is around five years old, also went to the men in uniform crying and asking for help, but the policemen, frustrated, gestured punches and threatened to beat him so he would go away. The men eventually told the group to take the sick woman and leave for Bosnia, reportedly threatening to run over her with a car if she stayed there.

The group then had to walk for more than three hours to go back to Velika Kladuša where they arrived at around 1 PM.