On the morning of July 27th, two Algerian men aged 24 and 30 started walking from Šid (SRB) to Croatia, crossing the border around 8:30AM. They walked to the town of Ilaća, from where they intended to get a bus to take them towards Zagreb. Around 10:00AM, while they were waiting for the bus, three vans containing five police officers, with descriptions matching regular Croatian police, pulled up. Two of the officers ordered the men inside one of the police vans, after which they were transported to a quiet road through a nearby forest and ordered to get out of the van.
The two officers proceeded to punch the two men in the face and hit them in various places on the body with their batons. The respondent suffered a wound on his right lower abdomen (figure 1). The photograph was taken during the interview, 4 days after the incident. The officers also smashed the phone of the respondent, cursed at the men in English and said things in Croatian which the respondent didn’t understand.
“Why do they do this? We are humans like everyone else, we don’t want to harm Croatia, only to reach Europe. When they catch us, I understand they can decide to give us asylum or not, but I don’t understand why they beat me and break my phone.”
About ten minutes after arriving at the country road, the police ordered the two men back into the police vehicle, with the officers kicking them as they climbed inside. They were then transported to the border near Tovarnik (HR), where around 11:00AM they were let out of the van and told to walk back into Serbia while the two police officers stood and watched them.