“When the police shot their gun I was so scared”

  • Date and time: July 16, 2019 13:00
  • Location: Vinkovački Banovci, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.1858125, 19.047312499999975
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 21,25,28,31,40 , from: Iraq, Mongolia
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), pepper spray, gunshots, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 2 Croatian Police
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On July 15th, a 21-year-old Iraqi Kurd crossed into Croatia through the Serbian border at 11 pm. During the crossing into Croatia, the responded and his two friends aged 28 and 31 walked for half a day stopping in the city of Vinkovački Banovci to board a train and continue their journey. 

Whilst waiting at the Vinkovački Banovci train station the group of three young men met two Mongolians (25 and 40 years old) who were also undertaking a similar journey. Both groups of men waited for several hours for the train to come but because it was a public holiday, no train had arrived. After waiting, one of the Mongolian man caught the attention of a passing local and asked when the next train would come. Shortly after the interaction between the group and the passing local, the police arrived and detained all 5 men. The responded believes that the local must have phoned the police on recognising that they were refugees and migrants. He also alleges that in Croatia the police will reward locals with the equivalent of €20 if they inform the police about any passing migrants and refugees.

Once the two police officers arrived, the Mongolian man attempted to flee the train station prompting the police to shoot their gun up into the air. The police detained all 5 people and searched their belongings. The police then proceeded to attack all five members of the group. The Serbian police hit the men with batons and then pepper-sprayed them in the face. It was estimated that the attack lasted for 20 minutes. The responded said he was left with lasting pain in his eyes after the pepper spray.

Once the attack stopped the police drove the group of 5 men to the Croatian border. They were driven in one police van and one police car. Once at the border the police took their shoes from them and told them to walk across the border.