“Do like a fish”

  • Date and time: January 17, 2019 00:00
  • Location: Batina, Croatia, walking one hour inside Croatia, coming from Sombor
  • Coordinates: 45.82765749802733, 18.83362224179689
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 10 person(s), age: 14-18 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, theft of personal belongings, forced t do physical
  • Police involved: first contact: 2 police cars, later a police van with seven police officers
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken, papers signed
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The group of ten minors, the 14-year-old respondent and the rest of them between 16 and 18 years old, left Serbia in the direction of Croatia on January, 17, 2019. After walking one hour in Croatia, coming from Sombor (HRV), the group was apprehended by Croatian officers. They were detected close to the spot, where initially a car was supposed to pick up the people on the move. At first, two police cars appeared and one of the officers asked the group to sit down. The respondent asked the officers if he could apply for asylum, but didn’t get an answer. Soon after, several officers began to hit the individuals with black batons and kicked them. The respondent described hearing the officers referring to them as Taliban insurgents.

“I am not a Taliban, I am not one of them!”

More violence against him was the officer’s answer. The officer beat up the individuals for around ten minutes. One officer thou told his colleagues to stop the beating, but couldn’t have any positive influence on them.
Afterwards, a police van with seven officers arrived to the scene and brought the group of ten to a police station. There, they had to sign papers, their fingerprints and photos were taken and their chargers and lighters confiscated. When the respondent declared he was 14 years old, the officer wrote down 18 instead. During the individuals were inside the police station, the officers told them to do 20 push-ups and to engage in humiliating physical activities. The respondent described being told to pretend he was swimming on the floor:

“Do like a fish.”

The police continued the humiliation, laughing at the boy. The ten of them were detained for three days. When he asked for his belongings afterwards, the police refused to return them.