“The driving is like a crazy boat in the middle of the sea”

  • Date and time: January 18, 2021 21:00
  • Location: Croatia, around 7 km to the border (Croatia/Bosnia), 8 km to Velika Kladuša, Bosnia
  • Coordinates: 45.227136670736, 15.751223813867
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 22, 26, 28, 30 , from: Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian police officers (dark blue uniform), 1 police van, 1 police car
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: [Re:]ports Sarajevo

Original Report

A group of four men from Morocco crossed on 15th January 2021 from BiH into Croatia close to the area of Bosanska Bojna. After two days walking and one day rest, they took a bus from the city of Sisak in the direction of Zagreb. On 18th January at 07:00, the group of four arrived in Zagreb at the central bus station. The group split up into pairs.

At 10:00 the two respondents, who stayed at the bus station, were approached by two policemen in civilian clothes. One showed his police badge and asked for the respondents passports. As they couldn‛t show their passports, the policemen called a van (with three additional policemen) to take them to a nearby station. The officers took the mobile phones of both respondents. They waited for around 5 minutes until the van came.

The police station was not far the bus station (according to the respondents around 1km away). At the police station two officers were present, although no translator. The two respondents asked for asylum and the police answered no.

„He said clearly no, no asylum‟

The police took photos and the respondents had to sign a document written in Croatian. They didn‛t know, what they had signed because there was no translation provided. The pair were detained in the police station until 19:00. In this time they had the possibility to eat, drink, go to the toilet and smoke. At 19:00 they were placed into a van with two officers, which returned them back to the Bosnian border. Another car with two policemen followed the van. The uniforms of all officers were described as dark blue. Reportedly, the driver of the van drove the car in a very reckless way.

„The driving is like a crazy boat in the middle of the sea.‟

The car stopped close to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, what the respondent described as approximately 7km away. One respondent was ordered to remove his jacket and give it to an officer, which was then searched thouroughly. „He tried to found the last money, the last mobile‟. One officer opended the bag with the belongings taken earlier. One respondent reported that he observed the officer putting the most expensive mobile phone into his pocket. The other respondent didn‛t get his phone back.

Two of the officers had batons in their hands and raised them threateningly above their heads while shouting „Go to Bosnia!‟. The pushback occured at approximately 21:00 in the evening. Afterwards, the respondents walked around 8 km to nearby Velika Kladuša in BiH, but lost their path several times. They arrived in Velika Kladuša at around 03:00 the next morning on 19th January.