“Sometimes words hurt more than beating”

  • Date and time: February 4, 2022 08:00
  • Location: Near the village of Bogovolja
  • Coordinates: 45.069973, 15.749237
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: Five person(s), age: 29-44 years old , from: Kurdistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: insulting, reckless driving
  • Police involved: Eight Croatian officers: five in black uniforms, three in light blue, one van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Friday 4th February 2022 at approximately 6 am, a transit group of five people from Kurdistan was apprehended close to the Croatian village of Bogovolja. The group was made up of four men and a woman who was five months pregnant, with their ages ranging from late twenties to early forties. They had originally started their journey near Šturlić, Bosnia at around 1:30 am and had walked for around five hours on foot.

The transit group was apprehended by three men the respondent called ‘commandos’. He described that they wore an entirely black uniform, suggesting they were part of the Croatian Intervention Police (Interventna Jednica Policija). The transit group was then joined by five more men described as wearing light blue uniforms. The description of these uniforms would fit with those worn by members of the Croatian border police or regular police officers.

The respondent stated that, upon their apprehension, he and the other group members asked for asylum. ‘We try to ask for asylum, but they don’t give asylum’, he said, ‘just they say…if your wife not pregnant, I beat her. We try to claim asylum but no accept.’ After claiming asylum, the officers also reportedly said ‘f**k you’ to the respondent. The respondent confirmed that the officers did not use physical force, but added, ‘sometimes words hurt more than beating’.

The transit group was made to wait for what the respondent estimated to be an hour. They were then altogether transported by van. The respondent said that the journey took what felt like an hour and a half. The respondent described the journey in the van as very bumpy and very quick, so it was uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the pregnant woman. He said, ‘in the car, you stop and go, stop and go, you throw up. It is so hard for us… and for my wife so, so bad.

They arrived back in Bosnia around 8 AM Friday 4th February 2022, approximately one kilometre west of the  R403b highway (coordinates 45.126231, 15.782139).