“They are more cruel during the night”
The primary respondent for this reports described that he and a group of three of his friends crossed into Croatia from Serbia on the 20th of August. After this, he described that the group walked on foot for 4 nights after which point his group was approached and apprehended by a group of Croatian authorities, apparently with the use of night vision or thermal cameras.
The respondent described that immediately before this, the group had slept for two hours in a forested area near the E70 highway, north of Zupanja. They were awoken, however by a group of six Croatian officers wearing black balaclava masks, standing over the him and his friends. At this point, the respondent described that it was in the middle of the night, in the early morning hours of August 24th at sometime between 2:00 and 5:00 am. According to the respondent, the officers had arrived to their location with two cars had with them at least one dog.
The officers discharged their firearms two times in the air next to their heads in order to scare them and, without talking or even asking any questions they started to beat them with batons. Afterwards the officers send their dogs to jump on the respondents.
According to the respondent, the dogs had muzzles so they could not bite and make marks on the bodies of people-on-the-move. The respondent said that the officers would stop the dogs from attacking and then refer back to beating with batons. This appeared to have been repeated a couple of times.
After this, the Croatian authorities searched the involved people-on-the-move and took and destroyed their phones. Apparently, the primary respondent carried a phone for navigation and was subsequently beaten more than his friends. He assumed that this was because the officers thought he was a smuggler. He also recalled that for every possession they had with them, they would have been beaten more.
“Everything I took out of my bag, they hit me. Whatever it was, they hit me.”
Eventually, the group was loaded into a white Croatian police van and began to be driven back to the Serbian border with Croatia. During this time, the police insulted the respondent and his friends and their families.
Arriving at the Serbian border, the Croatian police took all their clothes. When the people-on-the-move were naked, the police put their clothes and shoes on fire. Including their broken phones and even the one bread they had. Being naked the respondent and his friends were beaten again and afterwards pushed to cross back into Serbian territory.
After the police let them go they needed 8 hours to find back to the camp they started from, because the place was so secluded and they did not have any phones to guide their way.