“And we try to go back to Serbia by walking more than 6 km. This was the latest pushback I experienced”

  • Date and time: June 1, 2021 05:00
  • Location: near Tovarnik in direction of the Serbian border on the train tracks, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.147917659686, 19.162752628326
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 25 person(s), age: 20-30, 8 months, 3,14,16 and 16years , from: Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: kicking, insulting
  • Police involved: 6 Croatian border police officers, 2 Croatian national police officers, 1 police van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

An Iranian man, his wife, and her brother tried to cross the border from Serbia to Croatia on the night of the 1st June 2021 with a train. They were hiding under the train, so no one could observe them without explicitly checking underneath the train. The train crossed the border but was then stopped in Tovarnik at the main train station, the first Croatian city after the border. In total there were 8 police officers with two German shepherd dogs controlling the train, searching for people. According to the respondent, there was also one man who was the owner of the dogs but was no police officer. He assumed that this man was not a police officer himself but is working for the police and gets paid by them.

When the whole group they were traveling with was found, there were 25 people. The group was forced to stand at the train station and had to wait there for about 2 hours.

The man and his wife requested to ask for asylum in Croatia, but the police ignored their request and pushed them back. The respondent claimed that there was no translator present at the train station, so they had difficulties communicating with the authorities.

There was also no translator present „not at all, (…) they don`t care about that kind of stuff.“

„My wife`s mother is in Zagreb, we tried to make a reunion happen, police said that they talk to their chief and if the chief accepts we can go to Zagreb if not they will deport us back“

„We talked to the officer and asking them and trying to beg them to accept our asylum […] but police told us that they cannot decide, that they have to ask their chief“

Within the group, there were also some more families, one from Morocco with an 8-month-old baby.

After staying for 1,5 hours at the train station they brought the group to a place close to the border in a police van. As there were 25 people within the group, they did not all fit into the van and therefore the group was split and driven in two trips.

One police officer drove them to a location close to the border next to some train tracks leading back to Serbia where two other officers were waiting for the group. During the car drive, the group stayed in the back of the car, without any windows and a locked door.

When the driver opened the door, one police officer was pointing with a big torch towards their eyes, blinding them.

„My wife was trying to talk to this person to please put the light down […] But that guy tried to beat my wife […] that officer trying to kick with his police boots, when you get beaten with this boots its really hurting and maybe some injuries happen or bruises“

„He is really angry and trying to beat us […] he beat the brother of my wife on the knee and on the back of the leg and on the back (…) and he fell down on the ground”

After the group was asked to walk back over the border into Serbian territory. While the group was crossing the border the officers were insulting the group in Croatian what the respondent could understand.

„When we were walking to the Serbian side he was telling us bad words in Croatian language and I understand all of that“

„when we wanted to go he said we are watching you (…), so don‘t try to come back […] and we try to go back to Serbia by walking more than 6 km. That was the latest pushback I experienced“