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We asked for asylum and They Told Us 'OK' and Then Took Us To The Border

Date & Time 2019-10-22
Location Jasenak, Ogulin, Croatia
Reported by Border Violence Monitoring Network
Coordinates 45.218466, 15.023786
Pushback from Croatia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 30 - 38
Group size 13
Countries of origin Pakistan, Algeria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
Police involved 5 male and 2 female Croatian special police in dark green uniforms, unknown number of officers in station + border

A group of 3 Algerian men in transit were stopped in Jasenak, Ogulin (HR) on 22.10.2019 at 12.00. The respondent saw a camera along the roadside which flashed. The respondent believed it took a photo of the group. As they were walking in the woods near the roadside they were told to stop by Croatian special police in dark green uniforms. In total there were seven officers, five male and two female. 

Three phones were taken and broken by the officers who used their batons to damage them. Two power banks were taken and kept by the officers. The transit groups jackets and two of the respondents’ shoes were also taken. The group was then beaten with the same batons used to break the phones, but this time on their backs and knees. 

The group was taken in one Croatian police van to a police station. The group was quickly transported from the spot where they were apprehended to the station. As this was a very short car journey, the respondent assumes they were taken to “Policijska Postaja Ogulin” the police station in Ogulin (HR).

Ogulin station, as pictured in website of Karlovac County Police force.

The group were detained for about 30 minutes. Their personal information was taken and they signed a document which asked for each person’s names and family names. The document was not translated. The respondent expressed intent for asylum and the officer who stopped them said:

“okay, okay asylum.”

However, despite the repetition (or acknowledgement) of the officer, a no point was the respondent actually able to lodge a claim.

Instead, the group was taken from the station and transported from HR to the border with BiH. They were crowded into a van with a total of thirteen people. The other ten passengers were all from Pakistan. The respondent was forced to sit on the ground with his knees to his chest because there was no room. The driver recklessly made turns and some people fell onto the ground.

“It felt like 35 degrees in van,”

said the respondent in reference to the air con. The group was in the van for approximately two hours. 

The group was taken to a border area close to Bihać (BiH). The respondent told the police that they do not live in Bihać, so they needed a bus ticket to go back to Velika Kladuša. This request was denied and the officer told them to leave back into BiH territory.