“Deporting car have chili inside the car, all family cry”

  • Date and time: April 3, 2021 02:00
  • Location: 2km from Tovarnik, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.149264237661, 19.161051002786
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 7 person(s), age: 8, 12, 14, 18, 37, 38, 41 years old , from: Afghanistan, Syria, Tunisia
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 3 Croatian officers (male) in dark blue uniforms, 1 police van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Saturday morning at 02:00 am the respondent and his transit group got stopped by 3 Croatian police officers on a dirt road about 1 km outside the town of Tovarnik. The transit group consisted of the respondent, one single man, and a family (1 man, 1 woman, and 3 children). The uniforms were described as dark blue, consistent with the uniforms worn by Croatian border police, driving a white van.

The officers started talking in English to the group “stop, police, don’t move” and ordered them to get “one by one into the car”.  Before entering the police van, the officers took the phone from the respondent, the other man, and the family. Inside the police van, the respondent describes that they realized a smell that reminded them of chili in the air, which made them cry and difficult to breathe. This could have possibly been due to a previous usage of pepper spray in the back of the van, but can’t be validated.

After around 20 minutes, the van stopped by the Croatian-Serbian border, telling the transit group to leave Croatia and “Go”. The officers only handed back the phone to the respondent. The respondent said this was due to the fact that his phone was turned off and the family had GPS activated on their phones.