On the 28th of April, a man from Algeria and his two friends (two men from Morocco) attempted to transit Croatia by entering a train in Šid, Serbia where they had been living on the streets for many days.
At around 4:00 pm, as they were crossing the checkpoint of the Croatian border in Tovarnik (HR), police officers dressed in uniforms described consistently with those worn by Croatian intervention police saw them. The respondent recalled being apprehended by a group of 10 to 12 officers in total – including two who he described as wearing different, pale blue uniforms.
In this moment, the respondent ran to escape from the authorities, as he was ”too afraid”. One of the policemen then drove a van – described as a Mercedez Sprinter- that was parked behind the train, until he caught up with him. When the officer reached the respondent, he pointed a gun toward his head, and cocked it. The respondent then stopped running, after which point three other officers described as intervention police officers joined the one already present, put him on the ground by force, and began to beat him with their batons and their boots on the head, the ribs, the legs and the stomach. The respondent stated that in this moment he was sure they would kill him. After some time, they stopped and ordered him to go back to Serbia.
When he started to walk toward the Serbian border (which was only around ten meters away), one of the officers followed him and struck him again with a large wooden branch, even though the respondent was already badly injured and was struggling to walk. Before he crossed the border, the policemen told him:
”Tell your friends we kill people here. Don’t come here. Tell your friends we kill people.”
The respondent recalled that during his exchange with the officers, his two friends who were caught by the police in the train were brought behind the train station, out of the public eye, and were then beaten violently by the rest of the authorities from the group. The friends were similarly told by the supposed Croatian intervention police officers to spread the message that they would kill people who try to cross the border.
During the many hours walk to reaching Sid again, the respondent recalled that he thought he would die. Die from the pain, the injuries, the weakness and the dehydration, since before all this they had to hide for more that 12 hours in a train.