“attacked with sticks and knives - where is the human rights?”

  • Date and time: May 26, 2020 00:00
  • Location: river in the locality of Licka Jesenica
  • Coordinates: 44.9964315, 15.4406462
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 14 person(s), age: 18+ , from: Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), knife attack
  • Police involved: 20 Croatian officers dressed in black with balaclavas (Interventna division), three vans
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

A group of at least 14 people originally from Pakistan reported that on the night of 26th May 2020 around 01:00 they were intercepted by Croatian police forces wearing black uniform and wearing a mask to cover their faces. The respondents state that at least 20 policemen were present, and the group was caught near a river in the locality of Licka Jesenica, Croatia (https://goo.gl/maps/GREji2KQBGVViv219).

At the time of the arrest, the police made people sit on the ground and began to beat them up, hitting them with closed fists, batons and kicks. The 14 People were then lined up and marched to 3 Croatian police vehicles parked nearby.

When the transit group were loaded into the van, they were made to lie face down on the floor of the rear compartment and the beating started again, even with the use of the butt of the guns. One of the respondents reported that his hand was seriously injured with a knife which an officer pulled on him and used to cut it. According to the group, the perpetrators of the beating were on drugs or alcohol, and were amused and exalted by the situation and the more they beat the group the more they laughed.

At the end of the beating, the van was closed the driven for a short time. The vehicle stopped by the border with Bosnia Herzegovina, at the lateral height of Velika Kladusa. The fourteen people were unloaded and were made to go by foot across the border. The officers told them to go holding each other’s arm, since almost all of them were seriously injured and unable to walk unassisted.

Arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an International Organisation for Migration vehicle took the group to the local hospital where they were treated (Sulejmana Topića 1, Velika Kladuša 77230, Bosnia & Herzegovina). The next day some of them were taken to the larger and better equipped cantonal hospital in Bihac for further treatment. In the medical report, it is stated that the patient claims that the injuries and bruises were caused by the Croatian police.

At the time of interview the group was located within Velika Kladusa’s TRC Miral. There case was the subject of several videos on social media portraying the extent of the injuries inflicted, and a feature story on Bosnian Federal TV. In the video shown, the narrator pans across a line of injured men and asks:

“where is the human rights?”