“You can see just the eyes of the agent, he has mask on his head”

  • Date and time: July 14, 2020 01:00
  • Location: the group was caught near the D32 road in the Gorski-Kotar region in an unknown location
  • Coordinates: 45.059658, 15.742047
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 + the group met about 40 people in the river border push back previulsy person(s), age: 30 - 40 y.o. , from: Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), pushing people to the ground, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride
  • Police involved: 3 HR "special police" officers + 2 local police officers + 5 Interventna Policija officers
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, Independent person

Original Report

On July 14th, a group of four people, single men from Pakistan, were caught after the D32 road in the Gorski-Kotar region by three officers who were described as wearing uniforms consistent with those worn by the “Croatian special police”.

The officers stopped and approached the group, ordering them to sit on the ground as they called for the “normal police” to arrive to the scene to transport the group elsewhere. According to the respondent, after some time, two local police officers arrived and loaded the group into the back of a prisoner-transport van and drove them to a nearby police station.

In the police station the group had to wait around 4 hours without be given any water or food. During this time,  their requests to claim asylum in Croatia were denied. They did not receive any information about what would happen to them. After 4 hours of waiting, in the evening, they were taken out of the station and loaded into another van. The respondents recalled that they spent around 4 hours in the van after this, during which time they were driven from the police station to the Croatian border with Bosnia.

The person claimed that they felt dizzy during the transportation because of the lack of air, the smell and the moisture and also the driving condition.

Once they arrived at the border at around 1:00 am, the two police officers told them to go and cross the border by walking. In that point the border line is the river.

In that location, the group claimed that there were around 5 officers from a different unit of police, who were described as wearing black uniforms and ski masks consistent with those worn by the Croatian Ministry of the Interior’s Intervention Police.

“you can see just the eyes of the agent, he has mask on his head”

When they were left by the other police who drove them there, the officers from the Intervention Police asked them to sit with their hands up, but one of the older men in the group from the group did not understand what he had to do and did not raise his hands high. This reportedly upset one of the officers who asked him again. After the third time that this man did not react in the way the officer was expecting, the police started to beat him on the stomach and the ribs with a stick. 

At that point, they were forced to cross the river, but they said that they were lucky because in that point the river was not high and they could pass “more easily”, but as they reported, there was another group of 40 people who was on a highest point of the borderline/river and they had to cross it because the police was beating them hardly, so “for their safety they run into the river, but there was so high, to their head or even above all body”

The group observed by Croatian authorities went back to BiH side.