“Told to "try again"”

  • Date and time: January 27, 2022 00:00
  • Location: Near Velika Kladusa, Bosnia
  • Coordinates: 45.1840797, 15.8068421
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 11 person(s), age: Unknown , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: reckless driving
  • Police involved: 7 at apprehension were referred to as "simple police" in dark blue and two wore plainclothes; 4 officers who were involved in deport were described as "simple police" and two as "border police"
  • 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
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On January 27, 11 people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan were pushed back from Bosnia to Croatia. The man giving this report was from Afghanistan.

The respondent and his original group crossed a river near Banja Luka to enter Croatia and then walked 3 hours to road 70. There they waited for a car to take them further; the car did not arrive as scheduled and they spent an entire day in the forest outside a small village. The next day at 4pm a car arrived, half of the group got in the car. The respondent and four others continued to wait.

2 Croatian officers, referred to as the respondent by “simple police” with dark blue shirts arrived in a police car and detained the respondent and the four others. 20 minutes later two additional cars and a large police van labeled “Policija” with 7 or 8 officers arrived, of these two were in plainclothes and the rest wore dark blue uniforms.

The group were taken to a police station in the van. The respondent could not find the exact station on the map, but had been there many times – so much so that he joked with the police officers about coming back again and again. At the police station he explained that he was from a small, poor family and asked to stay; he told them his parents’ names, where exactly he was from and asked to stay. They told him to “try again,” but nevertheless photographed him and made him sign papers he could not read. He did not receive any papers. No translator was present, in fact the respondent was asked to act as a translator because of his English skills.

From the police station, he and 10 others were loaded into a van. Some of these others were not from his original group.

The respondent then described his journey to the border which, he said, should have been very short based on the actual distance. The first two police drove the group for 30 minutes, then another twp police drove for thirty minutes. Finally, the respondent said, two border police wearing dark blue drove them. The entire journey should have taken about one hour, but they drove around for 3 to 4 hours. The driving was rough and dizzying, some of the group began to feel ill and they tried to get the driver’s attention. The drivers stopped the van and asked what the problem was. The group asked them to start the fan; the officers started the fan, but continued driving around.

The respondent described these unnecessarily long and rough rides without sufficient ventilation as typical. In his words, “This is not good. You catch me, deport, but this is a problem. And bringing to different places is a problem.”

Upon arriving at the deport location, the respondent again said, “please, give us stay,” but was told he had to go back. The group were deported to Velika Kladuša. A local person gave the respondent and each of his friends the necessary money for a bus to Bihać.