“They grabbed my neck and yanked me out”

  • Date and time: June 2, 2022 18:00
  • Location: Near Kulen Vakuf
  • Coordinates: 44.5645667, 16.0914907
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 7 person(s), age: unkown , from: Pakistan
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, dog attacks, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 7 people dressed in a black uniform with black masks. 1 person wearing a sign on the arm saying "policija". 2 brown civilian vehicles. 1 white van with blue lights and barred windows on the side.
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Blindspots

Original Report

A group of 7 people from Pakistan got reportedly pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The respondent reported that he left Velika Kladuša together with the six other group members and walked through the forest for about three days. It was around 6 p.m.,  when people, decribed as wearing black uniforms and masks alegedly showed up in front of the group members in the forest. One of them also had “policija” written on their arm. The respondent and his group members immediately asked for asylum, which was reportedly rejected. Two brown civilian cars were present. According to the respondent, the incident took place close to a town called Vojnić.

” ‘Who are you, why are you looking at me?’ The police man talk very rudly to me“

According to the respondent, he and his group members were forced to lie down. They were forced to hand in their mobile phones, power banks and backpacks to the people in uniform. The respondent stated that after the backpacks were taken away from the group members, they were burned in front of their eyes in a hole in the ground.

The respondent described that after one or two hours (at around 8 p.m.) a van came. The vehicle was described as having barred windows on the sides and blue light on the roof. The color of the transporter van was blue and white. The driver wore the same black uniform as the people the respondent encountered beforehand. The respondent described that the transport with this van was torturous. The driver reportedly drove recklessly, breaking and speeding very rapidly. There was no air conditioning in the vehicle, it was very hot, some had vomited inside, others had severe headaches and others almost passed out. The respondent told us that the group members did not get any water during the drive that lasted what seemed to the respondent like 1,5 to 2 hours. Reportedly, they were also not allowed to go to the toilet while driving.

The respondent told us, that around 10.00 p.m. they were pushed back to a mountain top at the croatian-bosnian border. He could not identify the exact location but the nearest village they reached afterwards was  Kulen Vakuf. The respondent said that it was a new place for him thus he was not able to trace back the exact coordinates.

The respondent said that one by one they had to get out of the van.

„They grabbed my neck and yanked me out“

According to the respondent the 7 people in uniform that were present stood in a line in front of the exit of the van. When the group members went out one by one, they had to pass the line. According to the respondent the people in uniform hit the group members with their fists and used their batons to hit them repeatedly in the torso and on the back. Reportedly they also kicked the group members with their safety shoes. The respondent said the hitting lasted for 20-30 seconds. All group members had to take off their shoes and t-shirts after that and were forced to lay down.

„Run fast, run!“

When all group members had left the van and lay down on the ground, the respondent explained that the people in uniform set their German shepherd dogs on them, which bit them in the pants. The group members ran away, which was difficult in the dark. It took them three to four hours to cross the dark forest and reach the village Kulen Vakuf from which they continued their way to the Lipa Camp. Because the group members were no longer wearing any shoes, some of them had suffered injuries on the feet. Their personal belongings (power banks and phones) that were not burned were reportedly not given back to them.