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They were saying to us ‘you are animals, never try to come back to here, go back, deport these animals’

Date & Time 2021-05-15
Location near Bukovlje
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.22407349, 15.96626089
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 5 - 31
Group size 6
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, gunshots, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving, denial of medical help
Police involved Two police officers of Border or regular police and several police officers of border police and special police

The respondent and his wife started their journey together with a group of four other people. Among them one child of about 5 years. The 31 years old respondent and all the other members of the group that tried the game together were from the same area in Afghanistan (Maidan Wardak).

The group left on May 19th from Velika Kladuša to the area of Bosanska Bojna, Bosnia. When they crossed the border between BiH and Croatia at night, they were detected by what the respondent reports as Croatian police officers from some distance. The group could not remember the exact number of police officers involved but the respondent remembers that he heard at least two police cars. According to the car noises and the contours, he describes them as one patrol car and one van (“deportation car”).

After the police officers had stopped the group, they loaded their guns and fired three bullets in the air ordering the group to stop. The transit group decided to ignore the order and instead hide under some woods and grasses and wait, hoping that the police would leave the place. The group waited until around 2 am when their cars finally moved.

After this first encounter with those police officers, the group continued to walk for four days. Close to a street the respondent’s wife fell to the ground and injured one of her legs.
According to the respondent, the wife is suffering from an illness affecting her head, including the balance center, and has stomach problems, both certificated by doctors.

Resting and trying to recover from the fall at the edge of the street, the group was detected by a police car coming along the road around 2 pm. The respondent went to the police officers asking for medical help for his wife, showing them the medical documentation, they were carrying. The respondent claims that he explicitly expressed the group’s willingness to be transferred to Zagreb to ask for asylum.

“When police caught us, we told them please give us asylum in here. But they said ‘there is no asylum in here, go back.’ “

The car of the officers at the detection point was described as being the same or at least very similar to the one they encountered during their first police contact (Citroen C-Elysee). The officers in the patrol car called a white police van (prisoner transporter) without windows and ordered the group to step in. During the ride to the border, the group was exposed to high temperatures in the vehicle and reckless driving.

“At the place where they deported us, there was a lot of policemen, I could not count all but some wore black uniforms and masks and others were like on the street”

When the group members stepped out one by one of the van they were insulted and humiliated by the police officers.

“They were saying to us ‘you are animals, never try to come back to here, go back, deport these animals’ and other bad words.”

Regarding the expressed wish to claim asylum in Croatia, the respondent remembers:

“First when they made us get up in the car, they were saying to us ‘we will send you to Zagreb for asylum’ and then when we were at the border when they opened the door of the van and they call us to get out of the car, they laughed as us like ‘how funny was this we told you asylum, here you have asylum.’ – Humans don’t behave with humans like this”

Before being pushed back to the Bosnian side of the border, the police officers took the power banks and the smartphones of the group and broke the charging plug, and smashed the screen on a stone breaking it.

Then the phones were handed over again to the group. “The police gave us back the phone and shouted at us ‘there is Bosnia, go!’ ”. From the pushback location close to Bukovlje (see map) the group had to walk around 20 km to get back to Velika Kladuša.