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First out! Out! Out!

Date & Time 2022-05-16
Location Veliki Obljaj, Croatia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.21788882, 15.99896036
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved no
Age unknown
Group size 9
Countries of origin Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 6
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
Police involved 2 men in blue uniforms with "policija" on the back, 3 vans; 4 men in black uniforms and balaclavas, 2 vans

The two respondents are survivors of a violent pushback from Croatia to Bosnia on May 16, 2022. The respondents, two men of Pakistani nationality, declared that they set off at around 5 in the morning together with 7 other companions through the forest near Velika Kladuša, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The group of 9 reportedly walked for almost a full day in the jungle, finally crossing the Bosnian-Croatian border and after another couple of hours of walking arrived near Glina, Croatia.

The interviewees explained that around 6 pm, they were resting at the edge of a road to regain their strength when they ran into men with blue uniforms with the word “policija” on the back, who spoke Croatian. They aded that these 2 people in uniform were passing by on the road, stopped the group and asked the men to board 3 vans. Once aboard, they were taken to what was described as a police station, still in Glina.

There, the respondents were reportedly told to get out of the vans and get into two new vans, this time driven by men who the respondents describe as dressed entirely in black and with their faces covered in balaclavas that showed only their eyes. The behavior of the latter was described as more aggressive and violent than that the one of first men. The men in uniform now screamed to get into the vans immediately and allegedly stole the phones from the group (but not from the respondents as they did not have a phone).

The men in unifom then drove the group of 9 people back to Bosnia. The return journey was described by the respondents as particularly unpleasant and turbulent: ‘‘ crazy driving ’’, lack of air, and a high level of fear. They added that everyone held their heads in their hands and prayed; at one point, one of the men started vomiting inside the vehicle. In the evening, after about an hour of travel and once they had crossed the border again, the vans stopped in the middle of the forest near Vrnograc, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. At that point, the hooded men opened the doors of the vans (one first, then the other) and reportedly shouted and ordered each man out, one at a time.

‘‘ First out ! Out ! Out ! ’’
‘‘ Second out ! Out ! Out ! ’’

The respondents reported that once out of the van, each man was immobilized by two men in uniform who held their arms wide open so that he could not move, while the other two men in uniform beat him very violently. One of the two respondents claimed to have been the first to undergo this treatment and to have been beaten with a truncheon for a period of time that he was unable to describe, sustaining injuries and bruises mainly to his back and legs. The second respondent was the seventh and in the same way, he was punched and kicked, injuring his hips and his right leg in particular. Regarding the duration of the violence, the only information provided by the respondent is that between the two (respectively first and seventh) about 10/15 minutes passed. The first of the two waited for the other, who once beaten reached his brother and ran away through the forest. The two men explained that, injured and in pain, they then continued walking in the jungle, managing to return, after a few hours, to the starting point at Velika Kladuša.