“They Took Everything, Including My Medicine”

  • Date and time: November 14, 2019 20:00
  • Location: Srednje Prilišće, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.467346, 15.368886
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 20-27 , from: Syria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 2 Croatian intervention police in dark blue uniforms, 1 Croatian police van, 8 Croatian police in black uniforms, 1 with ski mask
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On 14th November 2019 a group of four men from Syria were stopped at 06.00 near a road in Srednje Prilišće (HR). The group in transit was apprehended by two Croatian intervention police in dark blue uniforms. The group was transported in one Croatian police van to a police station in Karlovac (HR). 

At the station the respondent was given documents to sign. There was no translation for the text but the document asked for the respondent’s name and family name. The respondents were given a small board with a number written on it which they were required to hold as a Croatian officer took photos of them individually. The group was detained for about twelve hours. 

The group was transported in one Croatian police van with no windows in the rear. The vehicle stopped close to the HR/BiH border and 4-5 km from Kladuša. All mobile devices were confiscated and withheld at the front of the police vehicle. The respondent did not have his cell phone to check maps but estimates the push back location to be in Pašin Potok (HR). At approximately 20.00 the group was forced to exit the van. 

“They threw us at night and remove my shoes and beat me.” 

Eight Croatian police in black uniforms forced the respondents to undress and remove his shoes. The group’s personal belongings including mobiles, power banks, and bags were confiscated and then burnt in a fire. “They took everything, including my medicine,” the respondent noted.The respondents were beaten with batons on their backs, shoulders, arms, and legs. 

“Of course they are more violent than any (other) time.” 

The respondent noted that the Croatian  officers beat the group using their fists, batons, and by kicking. While the respondent was being beaten one officer wearing a ski mask screamed, “Don’t stay here! Go back to Bosnia!” The group was then forced to walk across the border back into Bosnia.