5 men from Afghanistan walked across the Serbian-Croatian border from Šid, Serbia and continued in an air conditioned fridge truck. They travelled about four hours and crossed the Croatian-Slovenian border in a freezing container before making noises in order to make the driver release them. Even though the men pledged the driver not to call the police, the driver did, so four police officers, described as Croatian officials, arrived (45.050394, 19.101044). The police questioned the men for their personal details, how they came to Croatia and their destination. The men expressed the intention to seek for asylum, and explained their difficult situation (right for international protection, preference to transit due to several countries not responding to their rights as asylum applicants, incapability of Serbia to offer adequate refuge and often extreme attempts to cross the borders). The police denied these pledges and stated their intent to push them back to Serbia in arrogant and angry manner. One of the men asked to enter Slovenia for requesting asylum there. The police denied that again and called other police officers with a police van to pick them up and to transport them to the police station in a Croatian town. The men again expressed the intention to apply for asylum. The officers collected their personal details and other information and put them in detention in a cell for the rest of the night and next morning (11th of November). Saturday afternoon the men were asked to fill in deportation papers, after that they were transported by a police van, driven by four police officers to the Serbian-Croatian border where several border police officers committed acts of violence at about 4:30 pm. The police released the men from the van one by one in a queue and at the same time treated them with violence one after another. They kicked the men and hit them with fists and batons (long thin black with armrest) to all body parts. The treatment lasted a few minutes per man, and all of them were treated equally bad. Overall the police seemed very angry and behaved disrespectfully, especially the one beating the interviewed man. He pledged the police:
“Don´t beat migrants, we are humans, not animals“,
Without any response.
After that the men ran to the Serbian side of the border and walked back to Sid, Serbia, where they arrived the same evening about 7 pm.
The men were in pain located in several body parts. One interviewee got beaten on the left thigh and leg so much that he couldn’t walk properly the following days. After the pushback the stress due to the intensive journey (several days walking without nourishment enough, staying for hours in air condition cooling truck, detention, physical and verbal maltreatment, deprivation of basic human rights and finally, disappointment of deportation) escalated to anxiety attack.