The respondent is a 47-year-old man from Iraqi Kurdistan. He explained that on the 20th of February 2022, he tried to cross the border from Bosnia into Croatia to ask for asylum together with 7 other people including his wife, their 3-year-old kid, his brother in law, an Afghan father, and his 15 years old son, and an Iranian father and his 15-year-old son.
He reported that the group left Velika Kladusa at 4 am and walked 3 hours to get into Croatian territory. After crossing the border, the group sat down in the border area to ask for help from there. At exactly 7:14 am he sent a WhatsApp message to a Croatian association known to support people on the move. He explained the harsh situation of his group: he himself has cancer with two tumors and urgently needs medical assistance. He sent the information about the group and the medical documents attesting his health conditions. Reportedly, the association answered a 1 pm, explaining that in order to help them to claim asylum they had to call the police on behalf of the group. The respondent accepted and sent his location so the association could forward the information to the Croatian police. The respondent described that an hour later, 6 police cars arrived with more than 12 policemen dressed in dark blue uniforms. One of them seemed to call his superior to ask for instructions. After the call he told the group to leave, saying “Go back to Bosnia”, ignoring their repeated wish to claim asylum. None of their documents were checked, nor were any pictures taken from them.
The group walked back for about 10 minutes when another van – a white car used usually for transporting people on the move to the pushback locations with “policija” written on the front glass – stopped them. A police officer in a light blue uniform got out of the car only to insult the group in Croatian and English. After crossing the border back into BiH, the group still had to walk back for 3 hours while the temperature was only 2 degrees.