“The officers did not open the door and just shouted that the people should be silent”

  • Date and time: May 23, 2021 16:00
  • Location: Near Melinovac, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.7307888, 15.9143089
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 30 person(s), age: 17-30 years old , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: dog attacks, destruction of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 5 male police officers wearing camouflage suits, 7 police officers (6 male, 1 female with short hair) in blue uniforms with guns and a dog
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Anonymous Partner

Original Report

A transit group composed of 100 people left the area of Bihać in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 16th May 2021. All of them were male, between 17 and 30 years old and from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The respondent is 20 years old and from Afghanistan.

The respondent described how, after 5 days of walking into Croatia, the group was discovered by 5 officers on 23rd May 2021 at around 08:00 a.m. At that time, the transit group was in the forest around the coordinates 45.3713997, 15.3204532 (not far from the town of Umol). The five officers were all male and wearing camouflage suits. Out of the group of 100 people on the move, around 30 were apprehended, while the rest managed to get away. The respondent was among those who got away. However, about three hours later, i.e. around 11 a.m, he was among a group of 30 that were caught by two officers in camouflage suits.

The respondent stated that the two officers made a call, a white van arrived and 3 policemen in blue uniforms got out. The officers told the group to get into the rear part of the van. There were no windows, and only a third of the group could sit on two narrow iron benches, while the others had to sit on the floor or to stand.

The respondent explained that the entire group had to wait in the van for around an hour. The air was bad. One person among them had a heart disease and got sick. They knocked on the door and called the officers for help. However, the officers did not open the door and just shouted that the people should be silent. After an hour of waiting, the van started to move. The respondent estimated that the drive lasted around 3 or 4 hours. The driver drove fast and jerkily, so that the people who had been sitting on the benches fell down on the floor, one over the other. Many people had to vomit, and the man with the heart disease was very sick.

Around 4 p.m. on 23 May 2021, the van stopped in a forest. The respondent estimated the location to have been around the coordinates 44.7307888, 15.9143089 (at the green border near the town of Melinovac, Croatia). According to the respondent, there were 6 police officers present, 2 of whom had already been involved in the apprehension of the group. 5 officers were male, 1 was female with short hair. The officers were wearing blue uniforms and had guns. They also had a dog with them.

The respondent reported that the police officers ordered one member of the group to leave the van, then they closed the doors again. All members of the group were told to leave the van in this way, one after the other. After a person got out, he was told to stand next to a fire. The officers searched him and took everything from him except the clothes that he was wearing. Then they threw his belongings into a fire, including phones and money. After this, the officers used a baton to direct the person a few meters further where he had to sit down on the ground, forming a line with the other members of the group. It was raining.

The respondent explained that after all the group members had been searched like this, the police officers angrily shouted “Go to Bosnia, run!” and let the dog off the leash to make everybody run.

A few hours later, the group arrived to Bihać.