On the 30th of December 2022 five men, including two Tunisians, one Moroccan, one Algerian and one man from Sudan, left Serbia and crossed the border to enter Croatia. The interview had been conducted with one of the Tunisian men.
On the 3rd of January 2023 at 4 AM- as the respondent recalls, Croatia had just become part of Schengen area at that point- the group was apprehended inside a train at the train station of Vinkovci by two people wearing blue uniforms, that the respondent identifies as police officers.
The officers brought the five men to a police station: the respondent identifies it as the main police station of Vinkovci. He recognizes it from the picture on Google Maps (see below). From that picture he can also recognize a police van that looks like the one that brought them to the Serbian border.
The respondent further recalls that at the police station the men were asked how much money they had. Reportedly, the officers took the iPhone of the respondents’ friend. The respondent was asking for water and for asylum, but he was denied both. He reports:
They didn’t give me water, they said: go and take water in Serbia. I asked for asylum and they told me: no asylum in Croatia.
The respondent states that after about 30 minutes at the police station two other people that he also identifies as “officers”- dressed in the same blue uniforms as the other ones- brought the group in a police van to the border. They brought them to the train tracks about 7 km walking distance from Šid. The officers did not use violence on them, but pushed them back over the border, to make them go back to Serbia. The respondent says- referring to Croatia:
They don’t know human rights there.
At about 5 AM the group was back in Serbia, in the area of Šid.