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"One of the police beat us with a piece of iron...and then he collected the mobile phones and broke them."

Date & Time 2024-05-29
Location 1.5 hours by car north of Bihać, BiH
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 45.216839394453, 15.942466368262
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 25
Group size 15
Countries of origin Syria, Egypt
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 5
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), destruction of personal belongings
Police involved 5 Croatia policemen 1 large, olive-green military vehicle

The respondent is a Syrian man. He reported being pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on 29th May 2024, along with his brother and mother. They were travelling in a transit group of 15 people. All of them were from Syria except one man who was Egyptian. In addition to the respondent’s mother, there was one other woman in the group. The youngest person in the group was about 25 years old.

The group crossed the border somewhere near Bihać (BiH). When asked to describe the location, the respondent said it was forested and that they crossed a river. Once they were on the Croatian side of the border, the group was apprehended by 5 officers whom the respondent identified as the Croatian police based on their black uniforms that had ‘policija’ written on them. The police officers were all men and spoke both Croatian and English.

One of the policemen started beating the men in the group, including the respondent, with a “piece of iron” (most likely a baton). The other four were telling him not to do that. The policeman who beat them then collected everyone’s mobile phones and broke them.

After this, the group was driven to another location in a large, olive-green military vehicle. The respondent didn’t see anything written on the vehicle. They drove for about 1.5 hours and were then pushed back to BiH. He wasn’t able to pinpoint the exact location on Google Maps but indicated the direction north of Bihać (BiH). When asked to describe the location, he said that this area was also forested but that they didn’t cross a river this time. The location indicated on the map was chosen approximately according to the respondent’s description. It is also a prevalent pushback location, according to civil society actors in the area.

The respondent received medical attention later in BiH for the injuries he had sustained during the attack and showed us the chest brace he was wearing under his T-shirt.