On Wednesday, March 31st, the respondent and his two children of 3 and 10 years old, started their journey from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia towards the Croatian border, with the aim of joining the respondent’s wife and son who have been in a refugee camp in Zagreb for the past 3 months.
The respondent explained that he and his two kids entered the Croatian soil passing the border across a river, and after walking toward the main street, waited by the side of the road for the police to show up.
After the arrival of the police, the respondent expressed his intention to ask for asylum in Croatia and presented copies of his wife’s and son’s IDs and some documents proving their marriage. After looking through the documents, the 2 officers both in blue uniforms made a call, and after a while, 3 other officers in dark blue uniforms arrived in a white municipal van. After going through the documents again and asking a few questions such as the name of the wife and son, and their date of birth, they were asked to wait.
The respondent and his kids were then picked up by what he describes as a “deportation van” with 2 Croatian officers in black uniforms and what the respondent describes as “ski masks”. The respondent described that they drove the van very recklessly and ended up somewhere behind the Miral camp (Velika Kladuša), by the Bosnian-Croatian border.
“They were driving so fast and reckless that I thought to myself, today is the day that they’ll kill us.”
The respondent described being asked to stand in one corner at the border point and to remove all his clothes. His daughters were present and were crying and screaming.
The officers searched the respondent’s clothes. According to the respondent, the authorities were searching for money in every pocket and seam, asking for his money and phone to be handed over, but nothing was found.
After the search, the respondent described, one of the officers put a knife to the respondent’s throat, in the presence of his kids, and told him he would kill him if he saw him again. The respondent recounted that the officer then hit the him on his head 2 times with the knife’s handle. While the kids started shouting and crying they were told to “shut up” by one of the officers.
“I don’t understand how they could do this to me in front of my kids, she is only 3 years old.”
They were then pushed back to Bosnia, to a location behind the Miral camp, and walked for about 3 hours until they arrived back at their squat in Velika Kladusa.