“"It's like you're being rubbed, that's how they search our belongings for money and valuables"”

  • Date and time: February 24, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Near Breze, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.1954, 14.947775
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 13-30 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian officers in green uniforms, 2 Croatian officers in black uniform, 3 Croatian officers in light green uniform with black ski masks, 1 municipal police van, and 1 black van with no windows
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On a Monday, around the second or third week of February (exact date unknown), a group of 5 men, including 2 minors (both 13 years old), all from Afghanistan started their journey from Sturlic, Bosnia.

After nine days of walking, around 15 meters from the E65 highway on Croatian territory, the group was stopped by 4 Croatian authorities wearing light green uniforms. The respondent describes this group as “Commandos”. They were ordered to stop and wait at the side of the road until the municipal police arrived. The group had to wait on the side of the road in the cold for around 2 hours before finally, a police vehicle arrived. After a quick search, the group was transferred to a nearby police station.

In the police station, the clothes of all the group members were removed, and everyone was strip-searched thoroughly. In addition to that, their belongings and all the pockets of their clothes were also searched thoroughly by the officers.

“it’s like you are being rubbed, that’s how they search your belongings and pockets, looking for any amount of money they can find”

Afterward, one officer punched the respondent in the chest and kicked him on his foot. All group members were then transferred to a small room inside the police station. The respondent claimes that the room which had concrete flooring barely measured 5 square meters. The group was not provided with either blankets or their jackets.

At some point, the respondent tried to ask for water for the minors in the group, but his request was denied. The second time he requested water and food from their own backpacks, an officer entered the room and kicked him in the stomach.

“the place was a police station, but the condition and how it looked like was like a prison,  you wouldn’t even want to keep an animal in there”

After almost 4 hours, at around 12 am, 5 people entered the room, 3 of them wore light green uniforms and ski masks, therefore the respondent described them as ‘commandos’. Allegedly, the authorities were carrying sticks, that were described by the respondent as “sticks that shepherds carry”. The other 2 officers wore black uniforms and no masks.

All group members were then taken into a black van without any windows, and after what felt like 2 hours in the car, they arrived at the Croatian-Bosnian border at around 2 am.

Their shoes, jackets, jumpers, backpacks, phones, power banks, and money were not returned to any of the group members.

They were pushed back to Bosnia in what the respondent described as a very muddy road, with mountains on both sides. Initially, the group was not able to find their way back to Bosnia until they were guided and helped by a few locals. To get back to the place they were staying, they had to cross deep waters, until they arrived at Miral camp near Velika Kladusa at around 11 am the next day.