“Croatian police treated us like animals, after beating us and after stealing us everything, even our shoes.”

  • Date and time: August 29, 2021 00:05
  • Location: Croatia, E70, closed to Banja Luka, in Cafe 9 parking.
  • Coordinates: 45.259655746639, 17.149015497961
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 9 person(s), age: 16, 17, 20-26 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian policemen in civilian clothes with one car, 3 Croatian policemen in black uniform with another car.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water, frisked
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Anonymous

Original Report

On the 29th of August, early in the morning, a group of 9 people from Afghanistan was caught by Croatian police and pushed back to Bosnia. There were also two minors in this group, one of them is 16, and the other is 17 years old.

The respondent asserts that he and his group left Bihac in the evening on the 27th of August, and they arrived in Banja Luka by bus. On the 28th, they met some other people they knew before, and they slept in a jungle close to the Croatian border with them. At 3 am, they woke up to cross the border; after some hours of walking, they arrived at the “Cafe 9” parking in Croatia, where they were supposed to wait for the truck which could transport them.

While they were waiting for the truck to come, 4 policemen arrived; the respondent claims that probably the group was seen from the cameras in the parking. The first policemen were dressing in civilian clothes; after 5 minutes, another car got there, and other 3 policemen arrived. They were wearing a black uniform with a plate on their arm.

The respondent stated that in that parking the youngest policeman of the group started to ask a lot of questions to them; the respondent was the only one who could speak English well, so he was the main interlocutor and translator.

The policeman asked directly him if he had a phone; the respondent didn’t want his phone to be taken by police, so he said no; he had a lot of materials in his phone, especially proofs in order to ask for asylum in Germany, and he knows that Croatian police usually takes people on the move’ phones. After the respondent answered, the policeman frisked him; when he found his phone’s charger and the power bank, the policeman asked how he couldn’t have a phone if he had chargers. The policeman eventually found also the phone; at that point, he asked the respondent why he lied before; the respondent answered that he cared about his phone because he has a lot of materials on that.

The policeman got more angry: he took the respondent’s phone, stepped on it, and threw it in the water, saying to the respondent “if you really care about it, go take it”. Then, the respondent was beaten a lot.

After that, the policeman started beating also the 2 minors. The respondent, trying to defend them was telling the policeman that he couldn’t beat minors and that his actions were illegal. The policemen claimed that if they were really minors, they could have passed the border in a legal way. The respondent answered that there is no way for them to arrive in Europe in a legal way; in addition, he kept on asking if there was a chance to apply for asylum in Croatia. The policeman just stated that “Croatia doesn’t give asylum to migrants”; then he forced the respondent to shut up and look down without saying a word.

As the respondent said, that policeman who beat some people in the group was the worst one; the other stayed in the car at that moment and some of them were far from that scene. The respondent says that the policemen took every stuff they had, even the shoes, and burned everything in the truck parking.

After that, Croatian police brought the group to a police station; they put the 9 people on the move in a car without seats, and on that car, there were only fences. The respondent said that he felt treated like an animal.

“Croatian police treated us like animals, after beating us and after stealing us everything, even our shoes. But we are not animals, we are refugees and we are just seeking for asylum.”

They brought them to a police station, driving for 1 hour and 40 minutes, where again they frisked all of the people. They didn’t stay in the police station for a long time.

After that, they were forced to go inside the car again; the group was driven for 3 hours and a half. The policeman who was driving turned on the air condition at maximum; according to the respondent, all nine people were feeling cold, especially because police stole most of their clothes before. They weren’t wearing shoes; everyone was shaking because of the cold temperature.

The driver was also driving really badly; the respondent asked many times if he could stop because some of the people in the group were almost vomiting. The driver didn’t care and never stopped the car. After 3 hours and a half, that, according to the respondent, seemed endless, the group was brought back closed to Bosnia border. Then, the 9 people arrived in Velika Kladusa by walking; the respondent underlines that they walked more than 3 km without shoes. They were really hungry and they had neither food nor money: everything was stolen by Croatian police.

At that moment, they tried to eat the food they were finding, and after many hours without eating, they found some apples on an apple tree. They arrived in Velika Kladusa where they luckily found a good woman who gave them something warm to wear.

After all of that, the respondent walked back to Lipa camp.