“Story of a pushback ”

  • Date and time: August 10, 2022 16:00
  • Location: Bogovolja
  • Coordinates: 45.0758252, 15.7426307
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 17 years old , from: Lebanon
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 3 Croatian regular police officers, 1 blue police van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On 8th August 2022 the respondent, a 17 years old young man from Lebanon, tried to cross the Bosnian-Croatian border for the 7th time.
He decided to try to cross the border alone. He walked for 2 days in Bosnia to reach the border and 2 days in Croatia before the police found him and apprehended him, around 4pm.

The police uniforms, described by the respondent, by matches the one of the border Croatian police: “light blue t-shirt and black pants”. When they approached him, one of the 3 police officers asked him to stop and they started to chase him and kick him with sticks on his head and legs and with punches in his face. Only then they asked him his name and age, and what country he was coming from. The respondent recalls that even though he told them he was seventeen, the police wrote down on a paper that he was born in 2004, so he was not a minor anymore.

After that, he waited in the same place, with the police officers guarding him. He was placed in a sort of cell, according to the respondent description it looked like as something made for animals use. After some hours a blue police van arrived, and he was loaded in back to Bosnia. The respondent states that during the trip inside the van no water or food was provided either.

When the van finally stopped, other 3 border police officers different than the previuos, brought him to the border and left him in the forest somewhere close to the Bosnian border.
On the way back, the respondent says he saw a windmill on the road, where people were stopping to take pictures. He claims that, roughly reconstructing the route he took, that windmill may be a clue that, when the police apprehended him in Croatia, he was still fairly close to Sturlic (small town in Bosnia, very close to the border).

When the van stopped, it was dark outside, the respondent remembers that one of the police officers told him: “The next time I am going to see you crossing the border, we will kill you!“.

Eventually,  the boy started to run as fast as he could to avoid further violence.