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Forced quarantine camp in Croatia - "This was like a torture, they don't beat us but they lock us up and torture our minds. (...) I wish I had cameras in my eyes so I could prove all their abuses."

Date & Time 2021-02-11
Location On the mountains in the proximity of Lohovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina - 2 hours of walking from the Golubić mosque.
Reported by Anonymous Partner
Coordinates 44.74948166, 15.90516283
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 2 - 52
Group size 32
Countries of origin Pakistan, India
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 4 Croatian police in black uniforms, 5 Croatian police in blue uniforms

The respondent is a Pakistani single man. He reports that he left Bosnia in a truck on October 25 at around 3PM with 54 other individuals – other than 2 elderly men, most were younger than 25 years old and some may have been minors. Most were Pakistani but 10 were Indian.

Once on the truck, they were driving through Croatia for what the respondent described as about 4 hours when the Croatian police stopped them. The respondent stated that he couldn’t see anything from inside the truck, but he could hear that the driver was being beaten. When the police opened the doors in the back of the vehicle, they reportedly took some pictures and shut them again. The people on the move were left there in the dark for about an hour, according to the respondent. He stated that then 2 vans came, described as police vans. The individuals involved were 2 men and 2 women wearing black uniforms and another man in a blue uniform. The respondent reports that they loaded 16 people on each van and drove them for about 1 hour to a police station. According to the respondent, the Indian people were directly pushed back to Serbia, in spite of having entered from Bosnia, because they had a visa that had allowed them to travel to the country by airplane. It is possible that this part of the group arrived in Serbia, then travelled to Bosnia before crossing into Croatia but the respondent did not have this much information.

In the police station, the respondent described that there was 1 female police officer and 3 male policemen, all in blue uniforms. They performed a Covid test on the Pakistani men. The respondent reports that afterward, they ordered them to take their clothes off, searched them one by one, and took all their belongings. The police checked their clothes everywhere twice. According to the respondent, the next day 32 of them were driven to a quarantine camp. They weren’t informed about where they were going, nor why. There, the respondent describes how police officers forced them to undress and gave them “special quarantine clothes”. In each room, according to the respondent, there were 4 beds and one small toilet. The respondent reports that he was not given food until 8 AM the day after. He asked for cigarettes, shampoo, and soap, but the policeman in charge said he wouldn’t give him any. He also asked to see a doctor because his stomach was very upset, but his request was denied. Two days after their arrival at the site of forced isolation, what the respondent described as an “inspector” came and asked for money to buy the things that they needed. 

One of my friends asked the policeman to buy him Marlboro cigarettes. He gave him 50 Euros, so the policeman said he would give him his change before going back to Bosnia. He never saw his money.

Moreover the respondent reports that, in this quarantine camp, the police took all of their money and forced them to sign a paper that stated that this money served as a “rent” during their isolation.

Now the Croatian police don’t beat us anymore, they just find “legal” ways to take our money and things.

The respondent reports that the papers he had to sign were in Croatian. Some translations in Urdu were stapled, but the police officers shouted “Ajde brzo!” (“Come on, fast!”) and rushed him to sign without being able to read.

They reportedly spent 5 days in the quarantine camp. This is how the respondent recalls the time he spent in isolation:

Every day was the same. Locked in a room and with only maximum 10-15 minutes to go to the rooftop to smoke a cigarette. This camp is not good. All of this time inside without knowing anything, it’s not good for the head. You just think a lot. I stayed for 5 days and I was thinking – I must be going crazy, I will kill someone. This was like a torture, they don’t beat us but they lock us up and torture our minds.

The respondent believes that they were watched by cameras and listened to by microphones in the rooms, as the policemen could allegedly hear their conversations and knew what they were doing inside.

Instead, I wish I had cameras in my eyes so I could prove all their abuses.

After 5 days of isolation, the respondent reports that, what he describes as Croatian police, drove the respondent and his group for about 3 hours and dropped them at the Bosnian border, in the proximity of Bihać and 2 hours of walking away from the Golubić mosque.