“The deportation point was so far, we had to walk the whole night with frozen clothes”

Phone broken during pushback
  • Date and time: February 25, 2022 18:00
  • Location: Near Ogulin
  • Coordinates: 45.224070058208, 15.276238119971
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 16, 19, 19 years old , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: no violence used, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian police officers and 2 officers in camouflage uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On 25th of February at 8 am, the respondent together with 2 friends, all young men from Afghanistan, left Velika Kladusa, BiH, to go to Croatia. The respondent had arrived in Bosnia 5 months before and this was their 5th attempt to cross the border to ask for asylum in Europe. The group crossed the border into Croatia at 11 am and walked in the forest for three days. They described that they were walking during the night and sleeping during the day. Once the 3 young men arrived in the city Plaski, they bought bus tickets to the city of Ogulin for a bus that was supposed to leave around 1:25 pm. The respondent said that they were apprehended by the police 2 stations before they arrived in Ogulin. A group made up of about 4 policemen dressed in black and 2 dressed in khaki uniforms asked them to leave the train.

According to the respondent, the policemen told the group to give them everything they had and did not listen to them asking for asylum. Reportedly, the officers then proceeded to take the 3 mobile phones and power banks of the respondent and his friends, as well as a total of 270 euros and 110 kunas. The group was then brought in a police van to a police station a few kilometers further but the respondent did not remember the name of the city. The respondent described that they were petted down and left in a room for 10 minutes.

It was nighttime when they were brought into a police van again to be pushed back. Inside the van, there were 3 other Persian-speaking persons including 2 Iranians. The police pushed the group back to the south of Bihac (44.739349, 15.905797). Before letting them go, the police destroyed their phones. When the group left the expulsion point, there were two police cars [the cars had “policija” written on the sides], and officers wearing masks with 2 dogs. The group did not get any of their belongings back, not even their backpacks. Reportedly, the police examined the respondent and his group walking away for 20 minutes before they left. When the police departed, the group went back to the pushback point to collect the remains of their phones (see picture). Due to the low temperature, their wet clothes were freezing. The respondent said they had to walk more than 8 hours to arrive back to Velika Kladusa, BiH around 8 am.

 

Picture of the broken phone after the pushback