“I was asking for water and food and one officer say I bring you to refugee camp in Zagreb for food and after six hours we see we are in Serbia. He was kidding with us”

  • Date and time: December 28, 2021 03:30
  • Location: Bajakovo, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.055072, 19.101705
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 24, 24, 24, 29, 32, 38 years old , from: Afghanistan, Iran
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting
  • Police involved: 18 Croatian officers in black and blue uniforms, 5 civilian cars, 1 prisoner transport van
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, personal information taken, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Monday, the 27th of December 2021, around 4:30 pm, after sunset, 6 male people half of them from the Iranian and the other half from the Afghan part of Balochistan, were apprehended by Croatian authorities in Ljubljanska avenija 10, in Zagreb, Croatia. The transit group had booked a bus at 3:30 pm in Zagreb, to make their way to Pazin. The bus was stopped by Croatian authorities at the petrol station, at the mentioned address. There the 6 persons were told by two officers to leave the bus. These two officers had come in a red-colored civilian car. When asked for the exact conversation, the respondent recalls: “They asked for documents. I tell them, we don’t have, we are refugees. I asked for Asylum. But they say, you are in bus, not possible for asyl, we take you to police station. You can ask chief.”

After 5-10minutes of waiting at the petrol station, another 10 officers from whom two were females arrived in 4 civil cars. Reportedly some of these officers were wearing black uniforms, which matches the uniforms of Croatian Intervention Police. Others were wearing blue uniforms with “policija” written on the back. This description corresponds to the uniforms of regular Croatian police. When asking for more details, the respondent said he could not remember specific signs, but that the two officers in black, were later wearing black ski masks, to hide their faces. The respondent illustrates one of them as unexpectedly friendly.

At the apprehension, the authorities were talking to each other. Then one of the officers stepped out and told the people in transit to hand over their phones. As the respondent described, they searched for their phones and looked through the locations, contacts, messages, and photos.  After the officers returned the phones, they were taken to a police station. All 6 people had to squeeze inside on the three backseats of the red car. According to the respondent the ride took around 35 minutes. The car had no windows in the back.

The police station was small. There were three female and three male officers in some kind of grey-blue uniform. One of the men who was announced as the chief wore a blue uniform. They arrived probably around 6 pm. The male officers searched their bodies and took their clothes, and personal belongings. Photos were taken. Therefore, they had to hold a sight with Numbers in front of their chest. Also, they were asked for their details like name, country of origin, age, father’s name, and their mother’s name.

Later, the 6 individuals were held for around one hour in a cell described as one small room with one bed. They received only one small bottle of water for the whole group. “I was asking for water and food and one officer say I bring you to refugee camp in Zagreb for food and after six hours we see we are in Serbia. He was kidding with us”

Two officers in black uniforms drove the transit group in a van to the Croatian-Serbian border. The respondent was able to point at the exact location of the pushback on the map. It is close to the border checkpoint Bajakovo/Batrovici and has the coordinates 45.055072, 19.101705

Here the officers reportedly said, “Go! Go!”. The group started walking and after 200 meters two more officers were waiting. “She speak in her language. I don’t understand. She said bad words for our sister and mother. In Croatian. Pitchkomoder.” One of the officers as well in black uniforms beat one group member with a baton on his back. Then the group started running over the green border to Serbia. It was 3:30 in the early morning of the 28th of December 2021.

At the end of the interview, the respondent explains: “We don’t come here for bad things, we come here for our children, our nation, a better life, education. Baluchistan Afghanistan in war last 30 years. Please help us. Come together. Not important if Christian, Muslim, Hindu. We are all human, only human. “