At about half-past 2 in the night on the 19th of June 2021, 3 Afghan People on the move were found in a truck at the border crossing between Batrovci and Lipovac in Croatia. 2 of them were minors, 16 and 17 years old, the other person was 20 years old. The three people in transit had secretly gotten onto the truck in Serbia, hoping that they would be able to reach a country of the European Union where they could apply for asylum.
The respondent describes that he saw 5 Croatian police officers in light blue uniforms open the truck. They searched the inside of the truck with torches. First, they found only 2 people. They took them to the side of the truck and started to beat them with fists and kicks just next to the truck. In the meantime, the other officers continued to search the truck. After a couple of minutes, they also found the youngest member of the group. As he claimed, they started to beat him right inside the truck, using fists and kicking:
“They fight with me, fight, fight, fight, for 3 minutes in the car. They fight me, the Croatian police, they fight with me, fight, fight, fight. I said, I crying, I crying, so much crying, big crying. I said for him to […] don’t fight with us […]. We want to go to a foreign country. We cannot live in Afghanistan […]. But they said: ‘If I find for another time you, I will kill you’. But I said to him: ‘You are police, why you kill me?’. But they said: ‘No speak, don’t speak!’”.
Then the officers also took him out of the truck and struck him for another 5 minutes on the outside. The 2 other People on the Move also got beaten again. They claimed the second round of blows was a punishment for them, as they had stated before that they were just 2 people and there was no one else hiding in the truck.
After a while, another police officer came and asked the others to stop striking the apprehended people, because there were minors among them. The respondent said he was able to understand this exchange between the officers as he had been stuck in Serbia for several months. Yet the police did not stop their beating for another minute. The officers made the people on the move fill out and sign some documents about their personal details, names, nationality, age, etc.
The respondent, the youngest member of the group, said that he had lost his phone in the truck, so he asked the police officers if he could go back in and look for it, or if the officers could do that, but they refused.
After signing the documents 2 Croatian officers locked the 3 people on the move in the back of a police van and took them to the Serbian side of the border crossing. They handed them over to 2 Serbian border police officers dressed in dark blue uniforms. The Serbian police tore up the documents that they just received on the Croatian side of the border and told them to just go away.