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"They directly deported us. No police station, the process was illegal"

Date & Time 2018-03-11
Location Gojkovac, Croatia, on a small road in a forest close to the town
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.200116, 15.6827313
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 17 - 35
Group size 12
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 7
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 4 Croatian police officers, 3 officers in black uniforms (2 men, 1 woman)

The group of six traveled from Velika Kladusa (BIH) by foot and crossed the border to Croatia on November 3, 2018. They started their journey at around 3 am. At approximately 10 am the same day they were walking along a small road through a forest, close to Gojkovac (HRV), when they were detected by four Croatian officers. The six of them tried to hide behind a tree because they feared being brought back to Bosnia. However, the officers saw them and started shouting at the men to come out.

When they stepped out of the bush, the officers asked them whether there were more people from their group hiding and if they had knives. The respondent mentioned, that he felt being treated like a criminal:

We said that no, we did not have any more people. He was shouting at me: ‘Yes, you have!’ But we did not, we were just 6 people. After they asked us if we had some knife and checked our food and everything. He asked us where we bought our food and drink. I said to him that in Bosnia. He said that I lied. But who would give it to me in Croatia, I bought it in Bosnia.”

The officers told the six of them to sit down next to the road and to undress completely. Then, they frisked their bodies and found five phones from which they broke four and stole the newest one and around €350. Finally, the officers took their bags and threw them into the forest, with all the belongings inside.

The respondent tried to speak to the officers about whether the six could access asylum procedures in Croatia. But when he tried to speak out, the officers told him to be silent. A boy, who was 17-years-old, told the officers that he was underage and also asked for asylum in Croatia. The officers only responded to him that he should have stayed with his mother because he was a child. After waiting 30 minutes almost naked in the cold, a van arrived with three more officers dressed in black uniforms, one of whom was a about 35-years-old woman. They ordered the men to get dressed and to enter the van and then drove them to the Bosnian border:

They directly deported us. No police station, the process was illegal.”

Once they arrived there, between the villages of Crni Potok (HRV) and Ponikve (HRV), at around 11.30 am the same day, they were told to get off the van one by one, were physically and verbally attacked and ordered to cross a river back to Bosnia:

They were saying to me: ‘You are [from] Pakistan, you are like dog, like bullshit, terrorist.’ One officer tortured this poor guy [pointing at the 17 years old boy], boxing him into legs and hitting him two strikes with sticks. They said to us by the border: ‘This is the river, go to the river, go, this is Bosnia.’ But I said, ‘How we could go to the river?’ But they said to us that if we don’t go, they would hurt us. Where we could go? In Bosnia, we do not have any home. But he [an officer] was saying that it was not his problem that we had to go. He said: ‘Do not stay in Croatia, go!’ After, we are coming to the river, it was like three or four foot water. After we crossed the river.’