On the morning of the 16th June, a group of 6 people were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia. The group were all from Iran and included an 11 year old girl, two teenage men, two adult men and an adult woman.
The group had walked for several days from Bosnia into the Croatian interior and were approximately 8 km away from Zagreb. They were stopped by Croatian police officers in black uniforms. The respondent, an 18 year old man, said:
“We were talking with [the police] and they said, ‘everything is fine, don’t worry’, then they asked where we are from. When we said Iran they changed their mood.”
It was at this point that an officer took the phones and other belongings of the group members. They were told to sit down and not talk. After around two hours of sitting in the sun, two more officers came. The two police cars present at that time had the registration numbers 070_624 and 070_621. The officers asked if the group wanted to claim asylum. The group members replied that they did. The respondent described how the officers first of all said “Ok come with us,” then as the group were getting to their feet, the officers laughed at them and said “what are you doing? Sit down. No one wants to give you asylum.” The officers present at this time were four men in black uniforms, three with the word ‘POLICIJA’ in white writing and one with yellow writing – he seemed to be in charge of the others. Three officers were in their late 40s/early 50s, one officer was likely in his 30s.
The group were loaded into a van which had the registration number 100_445. The group were in the vehicle for 1-1.5 hours before arriving at the border with Bosnia. When they came out of the van, 6 officers with batons were waiting for them. The description of the black uniforms of these officers matches that of the Croatian Intervention Unit. The respondent said “I told my mum and my sister to go on the outside” so that the officers would recognise that they were a family and not use violence against them.
The first officers had taken the respondent’s phone and told him that they would give it back to them. This was not the case, the first officers kept the phone. In order to remember the registration numbers of the cars, the respondent used a piece of broken glass to scratch the numbers into his skin. He has been pushed back several times and is determined to report all the details of the criminal actions.
The officers at the border didn’t use violence, and then sent the group across the border. They thought that they were near Velika Kladusa, but without a phone they couldn’t find the way. They walked from 4pm to 6am before they reached the town.