“They grabbed my neck and yanked me out”

  • Date and time: June 2, 2022 18:00
  • Location: mountain top 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: Seven officers dressed in a black uniform with black masks. One officer wearing a sign on the arm saying "policija". First two brown civilian vehicles. Later a white van with blue lights and barred windows on the side was used to transport the group members to the border.
  • 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 startet their „game“ in Velika Kladusa and crossed the border to Croatia, there they got push-backed to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The respondent reports that he left Velika Kladuša together with six other group members and walked through the forest for about three days. Reportedly it was around 6 p.m.,  when, what seemed out of nowhere, people who wore black uniforms and masks showed up in front of the group members in the forest. The uniforms suggests it were special police units. On one arm was also written „policija. The respondent and his group members immediately asked for asylum, which was rejected by the officers. Two brown civilian cars were present. The incident took place close to a town called Vojnić , 45°19′ 25.82 N 15°41’48.03 E

„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 by the officers. They were forced to hand in their mobile phones, power banks and backpacks to the authorities. The respondent states 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 describes that after one or two hours a van came. It was around 8 p.m. then. The vehicle had barred windows on the sides and blue light on the roof. The color of the transporter van was blue and white. This suggests it was a police vehicle. The driver wore the same black uniform as the officers the respondent encountered beforehand. The respondent described that the transport with this prisoner van was torturous. The driver drove recklessly, breaking and speeding very rapidly. There was no air conditioning in the vehicle, it was incredibly hot, some had vomited inside, others had severe headaches and others almost passed out. The respondent told us that the group members didn‘t get any water during the drive that lasted 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 push-backed 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 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 officers 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 police line. According to the respondent the officers 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 police 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 not given back to them.