A group consisting of the respondent’s family and a number of other persons from their camp left Velika Kladusa in the early morning of July 21st 2018. They crossed the border by foot and walked into Croatia. After an estimated 25 km of walking, the group was detected and stopped by 5 Croatian policemen in the area of Cetingrad (HR).
The family tried to speak to the policemen and to ask for asylum, but the only answer they got was: “Shut up!”. The police started searching through the pockets of all people for their phones and money. They took and kept the money and destroyed the group members’ phones.
After that, the police stripped all men naked and frisked their bodies. When they were done with the men, the police told all women to take off their clothes and then touched all their body parts, including the breasts and genitals:
“They checked all our body, everything, took our clothes. Outside, all men could see us, our underwear. They just told the men to put their faces to the other side. All women were checked even under their underwear. They also checked my hair. They checked everything.”
When one woman tried to resist the body frisk and pushed a police officer away from her, the police officer started beating her so that the woman fell on the ground.
Following the body checks, the police told the whole group to get into a big van and transported them to another place, which they could not identify because the van had dark windows. The car was driving so fast that the respondent’s older daughter started vomiting. The respondent asked the police to stop and give them water, but the policemen did not react.
After 30 minutes, they reached a spot which the respondent described as being in the mountains. The group members were told to get off the van. The policemen then stood into a circle and told the five single men which were part of the group to come into the middle of that circle, and started attacking them with metal batons:
“The refugees were in the middle of the circle. The police like a circle, and they were beating them with batons. 5 policemen on 5 single. Every policeman was beating one single men and kept beating them. One man was crying and other was vomiting, they wanted to go back to Bosnia, but the police kept beating them. After when they finished, we walked a bit to the Bosnian land and the police again kept beating them, again 5 policemen were beating 5 men.”
After the beating, the policemen took the men, including the respondent’s son, into a car and drove them to the Croatian-Bosnian border close to Bihac where they pushed them back into Bosnia. The families were transported to a different place, closer to Velika Kladusa. Again, the van was driving very fast and people were falling from one side of the van to the other. After an estimated hour of driving, the driver stopped in a mountainous place where they were to be pushed back:
“When we opened the car, they [police] said to us to come out. We saw just tall mountains, very steep, surrounded by trees and thorny plants [showing scratches around her legs and feet]. The police said to us to come here, and my bigger daughter was vomiting in the car, she was sick, and my husband was holding her and coming with her out of the car. I was walking out of the car in front of my husband. I could hear that the police started beating him with batons, but I did not see it as I was with my back towards him, walking in front. My smaller daughter was walking as the last one and she saw her father being beaten. When my daughter saw her father being beaten, she said to the police: “Please, stop beating my father and beat me instead of him.” And the police started beating my daughter [pointing at her daughter’s swollen eye and crying]. In this mountain path, the police said to me: “Go straight go back!”. But there was just a steep hill full of trees and thorny plants, and I told him “Where back? Where? I don’t know where.” The police took a gun and put it into my head and shouted: “Go, go, go!”. and I was so scared, I thought he was going to kill me [crying]”.
The respondent’s family walked for one hour in a forest, trying to find the way back to Velika Kladusa. When they reached a road, they managed to stop a passing car. The driver took them to Velika Kladusa and offered them food and water which they refused to accept however. After 20 km of driving, they reached Velika Kladusa.
The first aid medics from the No Name Kitchen team treated the group members and observed the following manifestations: second grade contusions on the left eye of the fifteen years old girl caused by a physic aggression without object (see photo below). On the left side, the medics found an injury cause by first grade contusions because of a non sharp object, causing a hematoma all along the left side.
Furthermore, a man aged 21 years had stretches and wounds on his back caused by hits with a metal baton: