At around 7:00 a. m. on October 22, 2020 two Algerian men crossed the Croatian border next to the city Velika Kladuša, Bosnia. After they had walked for seven hours in the Croatian forest, they encountered two policemen with grey uniforms. Those two men stopped the two people-on-the-move, aged 24 and 40 years old, and ordered a police van, which soon after arrived at the spot and picked the two men up. Inside the white police van were already five other People-on-the-move from Pakistan.
The driver of the van drove all the men to a spot directly at the Bosnian-Croatian border, to a place just next to the river Glina. When they exited the van, one by one, several police officers in dark uniforms and black ski masks were awaiting them. Among the eight police officers was one female officer.
First of all, the people-on-the-move were individually searched for money and other objects of value. During this procedure the men were parallelly forced to take off their clothes until they were left only in a T-shirt and their underwear. Afterwards they had to hand over their phones and power-banks to the police. Later on, one officer put all of the stuff that they took from the men into a bag and hit it several times with a baton until all their devices were destroyed. Their bags were piled up on the side and set on fire.
Afterwards the men had to knee down, looking towards the ground. Several police officers, the respondent estimated five policemen, encircled him and started kicking and beating them individually from all sides. The respondent describes that he directly fell to the ground after one officer kicked him strongly on his upper body. While he lied flat on the ground the officers kept beating and kicking him several times.
Approximately one hour later, at 4:00 p.m., the men were compelled to put back on their clothes and line up in a file. They were then forced to enter the river Glina and swim over to the other side, where they arrived back in the Bosnian territory. The respondent describes how some of the men were pushed into the cold water by the officers when they hesitated to enter it. He describes that the water of the fast-flowing river was very cold. As the men were wearing all their clothes and were weak after the beating, the respondent was surprised that all the People-on-the-move somehow made it onto the other side.
“I am sure if someone couldn’t swim, they would have died in this river.”
Afterwards they were all soaking wet and had to walk more than 25 kilometers in the falling temperatures of the evening and during the night, until they reached Velika Kladuša.
“Croatia is like this. Someone enters the country without papers, they will hit him.”