“no medical assistance for an asthmatic in detention ”

  • Date and time: July 16, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Gejkovac, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.216188, 15.812952
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 31, 36, rest unkown , from: Iran, Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: Croatian regular police and Croatian Intervention police,
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, personal information taken, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

A couple from Morocco, aged 31 and 36 years, who had arrived in Serbia in November 2020, started their journey on the 13th of July in Sid, Serbia. They passed Vašica, Serbia and walked towards Croatia.

After 2 days of walking, they crossed the border and reached Vinkovci in Croatia. From there, they took a train to Zagreb where they arrived at 9 pm. They walked around in the city until they found a little park where they changed their clothes. The next morning they went to the refugee camp in Zagreb with the goal to ask for asylum. Once there, one of the receptionists told them to wait for the police to come to take their fingerprints. She accompanied them to a small garden of the camp where they remained until the arrival of the police.

After 15 minutes, some police officers arrived in a regular police car. Two officers drove them a couple of minutes to, what they first expected to be a police station. Once there, they realized that the building looked more like a sort of jail or detention place as there were many cells in the building. Inside the building, the police took their names, dates of birth, and pictures. They also asked for their passports which the couple had lost in their journey from Turkey to Greece, where Greece police had torn up their papers. While they were in the interrogation another officer searched their belongings and took away all their money. After this procedure, they were not handed any documents.

The couple stayed in a small cell inside the building from 11 am until 10 pm the same day. As the wife suffers from asthma she encountered difficulties breathing in the cell. She also claimed that the room only had a small window which was blocked. Because of her asthma attack, she asked to see a doctor. One of the officers promised that a doctor would arrive soon, but no doctor showed up.

The couple reported that the woman was carrying some medication in her bag, so she filled up some water of the toilet to take some of her medication. Shortly after drinking the water, she started to feel unwell and eventually needed to throw up. She was given permission to go to the bathroom and on the way back to her cell, she saw a doctor that came to visit another Croatian detainee. She remembers that she approached the doctor, but one police officer told her that she was not allowed to talk to the doctor. She was then escorted back to her cell.

As she still had difficulties breathing inside of the cell, she asked permission to go to the bathroom a couple of times, as on the way to and inside the restrooms she could breathe more easily. Each time, on her way back to the cell, she asked to see a doctor. Each time she was told that a car would come that would bring her to a doctor and then later to the camp, where she could apply for asylum.

At 10 pm a police van arrived with 3 officers. The couple was brought into the van and inside, they saw 3 Iranian men in the van. At this point, the couple was not sure what would happen to them. Reportedly, the car was driven in a very reckless way. The woman started to knock at the wall that separated the People on the Move in the back of the car from the officers, trying to tell them that she would need to throw up. As there was no reaction, she threw up inside of the van.

After 3 hours the van reached the Bosnian border and where they saw officers in black uniforms, most likely to belong to the Croatian Intervention police. As they had not encountered this police before, they did not know about this police unit. But once all of the people were told to leave the car, all 3 of the Iranian men started to run towards the Bosnian border, out of fear of the police, they just started to run aswell. Inside of Bosnia, they hitch-hiked and walked until they eventually reached the small town Velika Kladusa.