“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 officers in black uniforms, 2 officers in camouflage uniforms, 1 or two vans, two dogs
  • 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 2022 at 8 am, the respondent together with two friends, all young men from Afghanistan, left Velika Kladuša, BiH, to go to Croatia. The respondent had arrived in Bosnia five months before and this was their fifth 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 three young men arrived in the city of Plaški, 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 at two stations before they arrived in Ogulin. A group made up of about four officers dressed in black and two 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 three 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 van to what the respondent describes as a police station a few kilometers further but the respondent did not remember the name of the city. The respondent described that they were patted down and left in a room for ten minutes.

It was nighttime when they were brought into a van again to be pushed back. Inside the van, there were three other Persian-speaking persons including two 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 cars [the cars had “policija” written on the sides], and officers wearing masks with two 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 officers 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 eight hours to arrive back at Velika Kladuša, BiH around 8 am.

 

Picture of the broken phone after the pushback