“Wearing Only Boxers They Were Pushed Into River Water Up To Their Waists”

  • Date and time: November 12, 2019 18:00
  • Location: Vojnović Brdo, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.26393, 15.604234
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 20, 21, 34 , from: Syria, Yemen
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, water immersion, threatening with guns, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 3 Croatian regular police in light blue uniform shirts and navy blue pants, 1 Croatian police van, 3 Croatian officers in black uniforms with ski masks (1 in ski mask)
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On 12th November 2019 at 15.00 a group of three men in transit from Yemen and Syria were apprehended by three Croatian police in light blue uniform shirts and navy blue pants in Vojnović Brdo (HR). One officer fired a pistol up into the air and shouted, “Stop!” The group stopped and was put into a Croatian police van with no windows in the rear. Previously, when the group was walking in the woods the respondent noticed a camera positioned at eye level in a tree. He believes the camera took a photo of them as they walked past, possibly triggered by a motion sensor. Referring to the group being spotted and stopped the respondent said, 

“Regular people and tourists are no problem, but they are same as me, a man.” 

They were transported to a police station. At the station two Croatian officers (dressed in clothes matching intervention police) confiscated the respondent’s phone and opened the application Maps Me. One officer looked at the locations pinned on the application while a second officer wrote information in a notebook. The group was asked to show their identification documents. They were detained for about two hours and denied food and water. There was no translator present.  

At approximately 18.00 the group was transported in a white Croatian police van with no windows in the rear. The van stopped at the HR/BiH border and based on signs stating the distance to Bihać and the amount of time the group spent walking back to Velika Kladuša, the respondent assumes they were pushed back to Tržac (BiH). 

Outside of the van three Croatian police in black uniforms yelled at the respondents to walk forward and then one officer who was wearing a ski mask beat them with batons. The officers searched their pockets and confiscated their three mobile phones, one power bank, and money. Their three bags, clothing, and shoes were removed and destroyed in a fire. The respondent was also wearing a hat which was forcibly removed and thrown into the fire. Wearing only boxers, the respondents were pushed into river water which was up to their shoulders by the special police officer wearing a ski mask.

While conducting the report the respondent requested, “Write in your report that we will try and try again“.