“The police took his name but ignored his request for asylum, speaking only in Croatian and failing to respond to his case of persecution”

  • Date and time: August 14, 2018 10:30
  • Location: 20 km east of Velika Kladusa, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.218132542985906, 15.926658801519011
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 45 , from: Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: insulting, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Three police in civilian clothes in Ogulin (two young men and an older woman). Two officers at Croatian-Bosnian border: one in black commando uniform, one in the blue uniform of the border police.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: personal information taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Balkan Info Van

Original Report

The Interviewee had been travelling for six days with a group of thirteen other people on the move from Pakistan. At the village of Blata in the Croatian interior, he separated from the group with the intention of following the train line from Blata to Ogulin, where he would be able to catch a train to Zagreb.

Walking alone, he followed the road into the town of Ogulin. At approximately 10:30am, while walking along the roadside, he was observed by a group of people standing inside a carpentry shop. The people, of whom the victim identified two young men and one middle aged woman, were dressed in civilian clothes and shouted at him to “stop, stop!”.

They then shouted for him to come over to them, stating that they were police. The victim co-operated fully and walked from the road to the wood workshop. They held out some accreditations displaying that they were police officers. Despite the victim’s co-operation, he was immediately grabbed by the two men and forced into the shop building The two men held him forcefully in the air, picking him up by either forearm.

The victim, a thin man of middle age, protested at this force, reminding them that “I cannot run, I am walking for six days”. The people ignored this and brought him forcefully into the property (private commercial building). There, they began to search him and his bag, which they took away with all his belongings. They asked for his name and nationality, which he gave them.

The older woman, wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans, spoke to him asking “where are the others? Are you with other migrants?”. The civilian police did not believe that he was travelling alone and spoke harshly to the victim, urging him to reveal where the rest of his group were. He replied truthfully, telling them he had been walking on his own since Blata. They continued to tell him he was lying throughout the incident.

The captors called the local police and a car arrived to take the victim to the station in Ogulin. At the station the police took his name but ignored his request for asylum, speaking only in Croatian and failing to respond to his case of persecution in the Baluchi region of Pakistan. After an hour at the station, where the victim signed no documents nor gave any fingerprints, a police van with a lone driver transported the victim from Ogulin.

The drive took approximately 45 minutes and when the van stopped he was pushed out onto an abandoned area by a thin stretch of the Glina river, next to some industrial works. The driver opened the back of the van and the victim was greeted by two more Croatian police officers who had been waiting at the border. One was in black commando uniform and the other was in the blue border police attire. They immediately started to laugh at the victim, making jokes with the driver that he had brought “just one” migrant.

While they mocked the victim, the two officers searched him again. They continued to laugh at him and then, what the victim described as an act of pity, they returned his mobile which had been taken at the station. They did not, however, return the victims jacket, rucksack and the rest of his belongings. They told him to start walking and when he asked where he was, the police said the location was just 2km from V. Kladusa.

However, the victim, tired from six days walk, began the journey on foot back to the camp and found that they had pushed him back at least 20km from V. Kladusa. He was exhausted and walked for several hours until a local Bosnian helped him with food and water and offered to drive him back to the camp.

The victim was left in shock from the experience.