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We told the police that we want to seek asylum. Without listening to us, they started beating us

Date & Time 2022-08-07
Location Near Velika Kladuša
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.19583005, 15.79256058
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 17 - 17
Group size 3
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 7
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, threatening with guns, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
Police involved 2 officers, wearing black uniforms and night-vision glasses; 5 officers wearing Interventina Jednica Policija uniform, 1 police car

The respondent is a 17 year old young man from Afghanistan, and he was travelling with two other minors from Afghanistan.

The respondent reported that the group was apprehended by officers in a forested area, in the proximity of the Croatian municipality of Novska, while they were sleeping, around 1:15 am. These are the exact coordinates of where the officers stopped the group: 45°17’48.4″N 16°59’57.6″E.

The intention of seeking asylum was immediately expressed by the three transit group members, but the respondent recounted that the officers did not consider it at all.

We were arrested, we told the police that we want to seek asylum in Croatia. Without listening to us, they started beating us”. 

At first the group was apprehended by two officers, wearing black uniforms and night-vision glasses as detailed by the respondent. A few minutes later, a car carrying 5 more officers arrived. From the description of their attire and the extreme violence that they inflicted on the transit group, it seemed that that they were part of the Interventina Jednica Policija (IJP) as they have become known for this behaviour.

The 7 officers involved in the pushback detained the group there for about 1 hour according to the respondent, during which time he described that he and his friends were violently beaten up with batons and what the respondent described as pistol grips.

[…] They have beaten us the entire time, they kicked us and beat us with batons, and the grip of the pistols”. 

During this time, the respondent explained that the officers were forcing them to “confess” the name of the person they suspected led the group there.

They beat us for 10 to 20 minutes, and they were asking “who is your leader?” We told them we do not have a leader”. 

The officers then reportedly took everyone’s money and personal belongings. The respondent detailed that he had 200 euros and 300 Kuna taken, that he was carrying with him for the journey. Clothes, phones, cables, powerbanks and headphones were also taken by the officers.

After 1 hour of beating and violence described by the respondent, the officers reportedly loaded everyone into a van and drove them to the border. The respondent recalls that the driving took around 4 hours. At the border near Velika Kladusa, the officers left the group in the forest where they reportedly kicked and beat them again. For the whole time, the transit group stated they were not given food nor water or any kind of assistance.

On their way to the closest town, which according to the description of the respondent corresponds to Velika Kladusa, the boy realised that he could not walk properly as his leg was hurting badly. He entered a mosque where some local people allowed him to call the Bosnian police number to ask for help. When the Bosnian officers arrived, the IOM was also reportedly informed, and the group was transported back to Borici camp in Bihac.

As the respondent was still not able to walk, due to extreme pain in his leg, he was taken to the hospital in Bihac, where doctors informed him that his leg was broken.