“ A testimony from a Cuban man that was pushed back from Croatia into Bosnia for the sixth time ”

  • Date and time: April 27, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Davor, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.1143, 17.577432
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 8-40 , from: Iran, Cuba
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 3 border police in a white van, 4 policemen in the police station, and 2 policemen in a white car.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: photos taken, personal information taken, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent is a man from Cuba, who traveled together with a family from Iran. On the 27th of April, the group first crossed the border into Croatia through a river by boat. On the other side of the border, in Croatia, they walked about two kilometers and then tried to contact a Croatian NGO describing their difficult situation to them. The respondent explained that their condition was really bad, as there were children, sick people, a woman with a hernia, and an elderly man who was vomiting. They were hoping that the NGO could come and help them.

This NGO never arrived, but instead, three hours later the police did. They got out of a white car, examined them, and asked them a few questions:  “What are you doing here?” “Where are you from?” “Where did you come in?”

They also checked the cell phones of some of the respondent’s companions. The officers were especially focused on looking at their Google Maps applications, according to what the respondent remembered. He assumed that they were trying to figure out which way the group had taken to get into Croatia. A few minutes later, another white van arrived with three police officers in it. The officers ordered them to get in and when they did, the van started moving, they were brought to a nearby police station. In this van, there was not enough place for everyone, which caused the respondent to feel very overwhelmed. The drive took about half an hour.

Once there, the police interrogated the group. In addition, they took photos of each of them. The respondent claimed that the police already had their names, so they assumed that maybe the NGO they tried to call transferred their data to the police. At the police station, they were ordered to leave their belongings on a table and they had to wait in a kind of waiting room.

They waited for approximately two hours. At no time did any officer tell them what they were doing or what exactly they were waiting for. According to what the respondent explained, he asked the police at the police station for asylum, but none of them seemed to care. After their stay in the police station, they were again ordered to get into a van, which he describes as a prison van. Which made them look as if they were prisoners. According to what the respondent observed, he states that this van was used several times for pushbacks, as the floor was full of mud and dirt.

Once the journey was over, they arrived at the Bosnian border again. The authorities ordered the men in the group to undress, burning their clothes a few meters away from them. They also took away and burned their backpacks with all their belongings. Some officers took a couple of phones and gave blows with the lower part of the gun. After the humiliation, one officer shouted: “Now go! Just, go!” and the group started walking towards Bosnia, he was the last one and while he was walking, an officer hit him twice with a baton on the thigh, the respondent explains that the pain remained for several days after the incident.