The respondents, a group of four people aged 24, 24, 28, 29 from Morocco, where stopped by three Croatian police officers while walking at the bus station in Zagreb (HR), at approximately 14.00 on the 7th January 2020. The policemen – who were not wearing uniform but “civil” clothes – told to the group “stop, stop” and asked them to show the documents. The respondents answered that they did not have passports nor any other documents. The officers which stopped the group called other policemen who arrived with two police cars and loaded the respondents, two of them in each car. These officers were wearing blue uniforms with the Croatian emblem on their shoulder and chest.
From the bus station in Zagreb, the respondents were driven for approximately 10 minutes to a police station. In the police station, the respondents were processed by five male police officers wearing blue uniform and Croatian emblem on their shoulder. The respondents had their phones taken, as well as money, powerbanks and some clothes.
“They take jacket, shoes, beanie, everything”
The respondents were asked for personal information such as the name, surname, date of birth, country of origin and also for the name of the parents. The respondents had to sign documents they could not understand and were not supported by any official translator at the police station.
“We don’t know this language”, shared the respondent in reference to the documents which they had to sign. A female police officer wearing civil clothes took frontal photos of the face of the respondents. The respondents were denied both food and water and when they asked for asylum police told them “we do not give asylum”.
The respondents spent what was perceived as five hours in a detention cell in the police station. “It was cold”, the respondents says, referring to the fact that police previously forced them to take off their clothes.
Around 20.00/21.00 the transit group was loaded into a police van where there were two policemen wearing dark blue uniform, and driven to the border with Bosnia Herzegovina (approximately 45.194708,15.790146). In the police van was not only the group of four respondents but also another man from Tunisia. The respondents refer to the police driving reckless. The travel was perceived as three or four hours long and the respondent suggests they arrived at the border at 01.30 on the 8th of January 2020.
Eight officers wearing black uniforms, ski masks, boots covering the shin (up to the knees) and batons were waiting at the border for the group on the move. The Croatian police officers driving the van delivered the respondents’ personal belongings to the officers at the border, who set everything on fire. After that, the officers arranged themselves in circle surrounding the respondents one by one and beat them with batons and kicked them with their feet. One of the respondents fainted for roughly ten minutes because of the hits he received.
“Go, go Bosnia”, the officers told the transit group, who then walked back to the city of Velika Kladusa (BiH), a distance suggested as around ten kilometres.