““Go and don’t look back””

  • Date and time: June 8, 2019 03:00
  • Location: near Prijeboj
  • Coordinates: 44.841708291204604, 15.667685661840778
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 20-34 , from: Kurdish
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian police officers, a police car and van
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

A group of eleven Kurdish people, including ten men and one woman (aged from 20 to 34 years old), started their journey on June 2 at 4:00PM from Sarajevo by car. They drove up north to Bihać (BiH) and then continued to walk for about 4 hours in the forest before taking the break at the designated pick up point in Croatia.

The respondent said that the car was supposed to come the next day during the night time to pick them up but the car never showed up. The group stayed in the forest for three days without food or water hoping that the car will come. The respondent quite vividly remembers the weather and says: “it was very wet and cold and it rained quite heavily.”

After three days in the forest the group heard a car engine, but unfortunately it wasn’t the car they had hoped for. Instead of a taxi to Slovenia it was the police car that came to the designated point to pick them up at 3:00AM as the respondent recalls.

Two police officers got out of the car and told the group members to lie down on the muddy ground. The police searched the group and took their mobile phones as well as their money. The respondent confirmed that the police officers confiscated around 800 euros from the entire group.

After the search the first two police officers called for another police patrol and after some time more officers came in a van.

The respondent couldn’t remember their uniforms or the details of the police car, but he clearly remembers that the ground was muddy and cold and that they had to lay in the mud and wait for the second police patrol to arrive.

The respondent said that they drove for about 45 minutes to police station and that the driving was quite reckless. “The car had no windows”, he said and explained that air conditioning was not working at all.

Inside the police station men and woman were held in the same room and the police interrogated them without a translator present. Afterwards the police photographed them. The respondent remembered six police officers being present in the police station and he also briefly mentioned another group that was held in a prison cell.

The respondent’s group had no translator present during investigation, they never asked for asylum, they were not given any food, water and were not allowed to use the toilet. The respondent recalled that the group spent two hours in the police station.

After that the group was again pushed into the van and respondent says that they rode for about an hour and 45 minutes until they reached the Bosnian border.

After they got out of the van the police gave back their mobile phones but kept the money. “Go and don’t look back”, one of the police officers said while the others pointed at the distance, “Go, Go.”, they yelled.

It took them seven hours to reach Bihać on foot since they had no money to pay for transportation.