The respondent was traveling already one week to reach Croatia. He was hiding under trucks to get from Turkey to Greece and then via Skopje and Preševoto to Belgrade in Serbia. Still hiding under a truck, he crossed the Serbian-Croatian border on the 12th of May 2021. The same day, Croatian police officers stopped the truck in Samobor and found him.
The respondent was taken to a place that he describes as the local police station by regular police officers in blue uniforms where he was interrogated for approximately 3 to 4 hours by several male police officers asking him where he was directed to. After some time alone at the station, more and more people were brought to the same police station so that in the end a total number of about 20 people, mainly from Pakistan were with him. The police officers took the respondent’s mobile phone, his money, and his passport.
“I gave him [police officer] the passport and one policeman did this [makes a sign of tearing something apart in the air] in front of my face.”
Besides discriminatory insults and shouting, the respondent also suffered physical violence at the police station: Police officers gave him a cigarette which he refused due to the fastening of Ramadan – he says. Police officers in Samobor struck him with a wooden stick on the back provoking bruises on the shoulder blade and punched him in the face hurting his mouth and teeth and provoking persistent pain in his mouth.
After approximately three to four hours at the station, the respondent and about 20 other people were forced to enter a police vehicle, described as a prisoner’s transportation car without windows, by officers in black uniforms and ski masks covering their faces, which matches the uniform worn by Croatian intervention police.
Due to the lack of space in the van, the transit group was forced to stand during the whole car ride. The van stopped around 30 km far away from Velika Kladuša at the border, as the respondent describes, and the police officers made the people step out one by one of the car, shouting at them; “go, go” and at the same time beat them with batons. After that, they forced everybody to take off their clothes and asked the respondent for money.
“I said I already gave you money I don’t have more. Can you please give me back my phone and my cigarettes?”
What the officers reacted with:” ‘boom, boom’ [makes the sign of beating].”
He was beaten and fell to the ground. While he was protecting his head with his hands, he was visibly injured on his chest. As he was covering his eyes with his hands he could not see what he was beaten with but assumed that it was a wooden branch that the officers took out of the forest. This would also explain the scratch marks on his chest. The respondent added that while beating the group the police were shouting “fucking Muslims”.
Wearing only underwear he had to walk to Velika Kladuša.