“They [the police officers] said 'you come,' then they beat. Then 'you come,' then they beat. One by one.”

  • Date and time: January 12, 2022 00:00
  • Location: near Tovarnic, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.197368162837, 19.16561781338
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 9 person(s), age: 20, 23, 25 years old , from: Pakistan, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, electric shock, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Croatian Intervention Police, 2 white transport vans, Serbian officers in blue uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent is a 23-year-old man from Algeria, whose latest pushback was from Croatia to Serbia.

On the morning of January 12th, 2022 the respondent, along with two other men from Algeria, crossed the border from Bosnia into Croatia by foot, just outside of the town of Velika Kladusa. The men walked for about ten hours before they took a bus to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb.

Once in the capital the men bought a ticket for, and boarded, a new bus bound for Slovenia. Before reaching the city limits of Zagreb the bus was stopped by some officers. The respondent identified them as Croatian police officers. They entered and took off the three men from Algeria, along with six men in their 20’s from Pakistan. It’s suspected, by the respondents, that the bus drivers phone the police when they suspect someone might be a person on the move. Once out of the bus the officers handcuffed the nine men and put them in the back of a large white van with a blue stripe on the side.

The police drove the nine men to a nearby police station and held them in detention for five hours. During this time they were denied food and water. The police photographed the men and took their information; names, ages, which country they were from, and how they arrived in Zagreb. When the men asked to seek asylum the office simply said nothing.

“We ask asylum. He no say no. He no say nothing.”

After the five hours in holding, the police presented the men with papers and told them to sign them, no translator was provided and no copies were provided in a language the men could read. The police told the nine men that the papers were for traveling through Europe. After all nine had signed the papers the police once again loaded them into a similar large white van with a blue stripe on the side.

They drove for around 3 hours before the van stopped and the back was opened by police dressed in all black, with black ski masks covering their faces. This description matches that of the uniforms worn by the Croatian Intervention Police. The respondent could not recall the exact location but that it was at the Serbian border near Tovarnic, Croatia. So, the group that entered Croatia from Bosnia was brought to Serbia instead. At the pushback site, the police instructed the men to hand over everything they had with them, phones, power banks, money, then the police had them get out, one at a time, and beat the men using their fists and boots, as well as kicked them once they were on the ground. After the police beat each man they then told them to cross the border into Serbia.

“They [the police officers] said ‘you come,’ then they beat, then ‘you come,’ then they beat. One by one.”

Once the nine men had crossed into Serbia, Serbian police officers in blue uniforms approached them and electrocuted them with tasers. The officers did not instruct them to leave or arrest the men, they simply electrocuted them and left them on the ground.

Eventually, the men made their way to Sid and then decided to travel back to Velika Kladusa in Bosnia and Herzegovina.