The respondent and a group of families left the makeshift camp in Velika Kladusa and walked to Croatia with the intention to exercise their right to claim asylum once they reach the EU (Croatia). When they were walking through a village called ‘Begovo Brdo‘, a local person noticed them and called the police. Six officers arrived immediately in three police cars and caught the whole group. The interviewee saw how one police officer paid 50 euros to the local person, as a reward for calling them and helping them to catch the Kurdish family. The respondent asked the police whether they could apply for asylum in Croatia, but he got a negative response and was attacked by the officers.
“I was telling them [police officers] that we are from Syria and asked for asylum. But they said only: “Shut up! Don’t talk!”, and spitted on us. I tried to speak to him again five minutes later, saying that we have women and children. But they started attacking us with batons. They attacked this man [pointing at the father of two small children] to his both arms, and after started attacking everybody. Ok, he attacked the man, but why he attacked the women and children? Are they crazy? He also attacked the pregnant women into her back”
The police did not allow the families to access the asylum procedures and did not take them to a police station. Instead, they drove them by a car to the Bosnian border for their deportation (20 minutes driving). When the car reached the border, the police opened a door and ordered the whole group to get out and to walk back to Bosnia. The interviewee started questioning the police. “Why are you acting like this? We are from Syria, you know that we have problem there”. But the police only responded, “Go! Shut up!”. The police proceeded to push a one-year-old child and started beating the whole group again with batons. Then, the police officers stole 500 euros from the group, as well as their newer mobile phones, and destroyed any older phones, smashing them on the ground.
Afterwards, the police told the families to walk back to Bosnia, shouting at them to walk faster. The 9-months pregnant woman did not feel well and told this to the police officer, asking for help, but the police officer spat on her and shouted at everybody to keep walking faster. The whole group got back to the makeshift camp in Velika Kladusa late at night.
The interviewed families were checked and treated by the first aid medics from the No Name Kitchen team. According to the medics, four adults (two women and two men) and one-year-old baby had bruises around their body from the attack with police batons. One man had fractured bone in his left hand, also from the attack with batons.