“In the cars it was really hot, people threw up, we demanded, we banged the doors, they did nothing”

  • Date and time: May 12, 2022 07:00
  • Location: border area around Velika Kladusa
  • Coordinates: 45.164216097539, 15.78416509375
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 30 person(s), age: 15-35 years old , from: Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Guinea, Gambia, Togo, Ivory Coast
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Croatian police officers, including border police and intervention police , 2 police cars, 3 Prisoner transport vans
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Thursday, the 12 of May 2022, a group of 30 people from Mali, RDC, Cameroon, Guinea, Gambia, Togo, and Ivory Coast, including minors, women and a pregnant woman, got pushed back by Croatian authorities from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The group had been in Croatia for a few days and was on its way to Zagreb. At around 7 am, the group was surprised by Croatian officers while they were all sleeping. The first officers arrived with two police cars and asked the group to all get down on the ground until reinforcements arrived.

“when the reinforcements arrived they started to search everyone, even the women”

The reinforcements arrived with three prisoner transport vans. In total, the respondents describe 9 officers from different types of police including border police and intervention police, as well as the presence of dogs. The officers asked the group to undress for a search. At the same time, they took the money, phone, power bank, charger, and shoes of some members of the group. The respondents say that the officers also threw away and burned the food bags.

Reportedly, some people in the group were hit with batons, others were spat on and insulted by a member of the officers.

“They treat you badly, they hit you, they spit on you, they have dogs that can bite you”.

After several hours of checks, the officers put the group into the prison transport vans. The group asked to be taken to a camp in Zagreb to apply for asylum in Croatia, but the request was refused by the officers.

The convoys then set off and initially stopped at a police station in Zagreb but only officers got off for a few minutes before setting off again. During the journey, the respondents testified to ill-treatment including lack of access to water and toilets and exposure to high temperatures.

“In the cars, during the journey, it was really hot, people threw up, we demanded, we banged the doors, they did nothing.”

“They added the heating, it’s a torture, it’s not normal to do that to us”

After several hours of driving, the group was finally dropped off in a forest area near Bihac and from there continued on foot to Bihac. The respondents were unable to give a precise location due to the removal of phones and the lack of visibility from the outside in the vans.

“When we crossed the border we asked for our phones but they refused to give them to us.”