On February 18, a group of three men crossed the border to Croatia near Velika Kladusa (BIH). The group walked two days before reaching Zagreb (HRV) on the morning of February 20. At around 7 am, a group of officers apprehended the three of them at the train station in Zagreb. They drove them to a police station which took around twenty minutes. At the station, they were frisked in an office and their personal belongings, including their money, were taken. When the group expressed their intention to claim asylum, they were told they could do so later.
The group was exhausted from their previous two days of walking, a journey done without food or water. Accordingly, one of them asked for water. He was sent to drink water in the restroom. After having drunken a lot of water in a very short time, he fainted for several minutes.
“It is from the low blood pressure. I have this since I was a child.”
When he woke up, an ambulance had arrived. Personnel checked the individual, gave him an injection, and decided to bring him to the hospital. He arrived there at approximately 8 am and got two infusions, a x-ray was taken, and then he got a third infusion.
“They also gave me bread with cheese.”
Throughout his stay at the hospital, one officer was present. When he wanted to go to the toilet at 9.30 am, he fainted again after walking a few meters. Although still lacking full health, he left the hospital with the officer at 12 pm.
In the police car on the way back to the police station, he received a paper written in Croatian, that he couldn’t understand. Therefore, the paper was translated for him. One of the three officers told him, that he had to pay a fine of 1,575 Croatian Kuna (€212,30) for his recent hospital stay or else go to prison.
After a 15-20 minute drive, they arrived back at the police station. At 1 pm the individual was brought to the cell where the other people on the move were waiting. Still hungry, they asked for food many times before the received a small amount.
At around 3.30 pm, the group of three asked an officer if he could buy food and drinks for them with their own money which had been taken away from them in the morning. However, they didn’t receive food until 8 pm. At this point, a new shift had begun and a new officer was in charge. The individuals asked him about the asylum procedure in Croatia, and he answered that he would bring them to a refugee camp near Zagreb.
“You can do the asylum there in the camp.”
At around 8.30 pm, they were brought to a police van, thinking they would go to the camp that the night-shift officer had described. Instead, they were driven for two to three hours to a secluded spot along the Bosnian-Croatian border, approximately 35 km away from Velika Kladusa. In their van were two officers and they were accompanied by two more officers in a car.
When the police got off the vehicles at the push-back location, they put on black balaclavas. One-by-one, the three of them were forced to get off the van.
“One of them said ‘Fuck you’ and they started beating us like crazy.”
The three individuals were beaten with batons on their legs, arms, backs and heads. The respondent left with two visible wounds on his head and bruises throughout his body (see photos taken two days after the incident).
After crossing the border to Bosnia, the group had to walk around 35 km back to Velika Kladusa and arrived there around 6 am.