“Moving on a dusty road to Croatia”

  • Date and time: January 18, 2021 00:00
  • Location: close to Voštane, Bosnia
  • Coordinates: 43.666201607626, 16.92303565597
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 18, 30, 42 , from: Iran
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, threatening with guns, gunshots, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 3 police vans, 10 Croatian border officers (black uniforms, triangle symbol on the upper left arm) +7 police officers at the station
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken, papers signed, no translator present, forced to undress
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: [Re:]ports Sarajevo

Original Report

On the 14th of January, a group of 3 men left Sarajevo to the City Livno (Bosnia), which is close to the border of Croatia. They took a bus, paid the prize for the whole trip, but the police dragged them out – along with all the other refugees – in the middle of the way. They were told to walk back to Sarajevo but kept on walking to Livno by foot. To reach there they had to make a 2 days trip. From there they tried to move on a dusty road to go to Croatia.

After 4 nights moving, they managed to cross a bridge and reached Croatia, but got caught by the police shortly after. The respondent suspects the owner of a barking dog they passed to have called the police. Shortly after the first police car arrived, another was coming – altogether 7-8 police men – who took all the wallets of the respondent and his companions and one mobilephone they had with them. Then the police brought the to a police station around 20 minutes driving away. The part of the car were the three men were seated did not have any windows, therefore the respondent could not see where they were driving, but supposes it was somewhere in a village center.

When they reached the police station, the police gave them some papers in Croatian, forced them to sign them and to write their names beneath, even though they did not know what was written on it and there was no translator. They were begging the police to let them stay, and let them know they want to apply for asylum, but the police did not accept the asylum seeking. The police gave back the wallets, but emptied them before, taking all the euros and croatian cunas they had with them. The police also gave back the mobilephone. The respondent supposes the police would not have done this if it would have been a more expensive one. Afterwards they got told to take off all their warm clothes, put it into their bags together with their 2nd and 3rd set of new clothes, their food leftovers and water and hand it over to the police.

Two police men brought them back to Bosnia, within the back of a police van, driving reckless, making them slip from one side of the car to the other since there are no seatbelts. Also, they turned on the air conditioner to make it colder inside the car. Outside it was snowing. When they got out, at some random spot, nowhere close to a city or village, the police men threatened them by showing their batons and telling they would beat them up the next time. After some meters walked, the police men shot a bullet in the sky. The respondent could see the lights of the police car for one hour, supposing the police waited to make sure they would move further away from the border. It was very cold and snowy and they had no clothes left. It was a 16 hours march to get to the next bus station, where they waited another 2-3 hours for the bus bringing them back to Sarajevo.