“In my country there is war but even there we don't treat people like this.”

  • Date and time: April 12, 2019 16:00
  • Location: Trebinje, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Coordinates: 42.704168, 18.325152
  • Push-back from: Bosnia
  • Push-back to: Montenegro
  • Demographics: 18 person(s), age: 0,6-35 , from: Iraq, Kurdistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, destruction of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 9 police officers: 7 with blue uniforms and Bosnian police logo, 2 with black uniforms and Bosnian police emblem on the shoulder. Heavy, high black boots. 2 VW vans, white with a blue stripe.
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, denial of food/water, handcuff
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

    Original Report

    A group of 18 left from Nikšić (MIH) around April 10, 2019. They drove close to the Bosnian border and walked from there for two days. Around April 12, the people on the move were trying to reach the bus station of Trebinje (BIH) and got detected by the Bosnian authorities. The nine officers approached them friendly:

    “We will bring you to the police station, and then we will bring you to the Sarajevo camp. You can see doctor.”

    “At first we were surprised, thought maybe they will be nice to us. But they lie to you to calm you down.”

    The group had to enter two white, windowless VW vans. They were driven for approximately 30 minutes to the border checkpoint Klobuk, at the border to Montenegro. Once arrived there, they were detained for 16 hours.

    “It was a white room without windows.”

    While in the room, one officer took photos of their faces. There were no benches in the room, and they had to knock on the door when they wanted to go to the bathroom. They didn’t get water, food or blankets.

    At 9 am, the officers entered and handcuffed four of the men. With the handcuffs on, they were again loaded into the two white VW vans, accompained by the nine police officers. When the group noticed that they were not brought to Sarajevo, they asked the officers:

    “Where are we going? Please give us asylum!”

    But they answered:

    “No English, no asylum, Bosnia full.”

    They were driven around 10 minutes on a road up the mountain between the border crossings. While the police let them get off the van, they returned their phones and removed the handcuffs, saying:

    “Walk back to Montenegro.”

    A 16-year-old boy told a Bosnian officer:

    “I will tell UN what you are doing!”

    So one officer answered:

    “Fuck your mother! Fuck UN!”

    And kicked the young man with his heavy black boots on the side, so that he fell out of the car on the ground. The officer took a metal baton and beat the young man on his head and he started bleeding heavily from two wounds (see photo).

    “They use heavy metal stick.”

    The officers nevertheless started kicking him with their boots in his stomach and chest.

    “He beat me like Jackie Chan. After I felt dizzy, I couldn’t stand up and I couldn’t speak.”

    The officer who targeted who attacked the teenager was described as tall, strong, with a shaved head and blue eyes. When the officer noticed two members of the group filming the scene, he took their two phones and smashed them on the ground. Before the officers left, they told the people on the move:

    “If you come again, it will be worse! We take fingerprints, and we will break your legs and your arms.”

    The officers left after around 10 to 15 minutes and the group walked around 30 minutes through the forest to the Ilino Brdo border crossing of Montenegro. There the border officers told them to wait for the public bus to arrive. The group paid for the bus tickets back to Podgorica and went from there to the camp in Spuž.

    “When I came back to camp, even after two days I received no medical assistance. They told me to go to Podgorica to the hospital. But I dont have money for that. There is only one doctor in the camp in Spuž, he is very bad he don’t know nothing. He comes two times a week. The nurse is here, but she does not help anything.”

    “In my country there is war but even there we don’t treat people like this.”