“"Every time we went to ask for asylum they beat us. So we never said it."”

  • Date and time: November 2, 2019 21:00
  • Location: BiH/HR border near Hadzin Potok
  • Coordinates: 45.067754630568984, 15.753971171505668
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 21 person(s), age: 23, 24, 24, 24, 24 years old (initial group) , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, pepper spray, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 2 Croatian police vans, 6 male and 1 female Croatian officers in black uniforms with ski masks, 1 male Croatian police officer in a blue uniform with stars on the shoulder; 2 Croatian officers in grey uniform; 1 Croatian police van, 2 male Croatian Police in black uniforms with ski masks
  • 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

At 04:00 on the 2nd November 2019, two Croatian police vans apprehended a group of five men in transit – all were males from Morocco, aged 23, 24, 24, 24, and 24. Seven male and one female Croatian officers in black uniforms with ski masks and one Croatian police officer in a blue uniform with stars on his shoulder, caught the group at this location: 45.308814, 14.74816.

When the group in transit tried to request asylum, the officers yelled at them and hit them with batons, saying:

“sit down, sit down”

The Croatian police officer in blue uniform asked questions like:

“where are you from, why are you coming here, do you have a knife?”

But when the group in transit tried to respond, the officers (in black uniforms and ski masks) would pepper spray and beat them. These officers stole five telephones, money (totaling €1,400), five power-banks, clothes, shoes and backpacks – everything was taken except for the transit groups t-shirts, underwear and socks. The officers made them kneel in a line and then beat their bodies with batons and kicking. If the group in transit tried to look up or ask for asylum, the masked officers in black pepper sprayed their eyes and beat them harder. The officers held them at this point of apprehension for three hours (until approximately 06:30) and were laughing at the group in transit when they were beating them.

Injuries incurred to legs and ankle from assaults.

The group was forced into one of the Croatian police vans (windows blacked out) and drove 20-30 minutes to a police station, arriving around 07:00 (still 2nd November 2019). It is assumed that the group in transit was taken to this police station: Delnice Police Station (Školska ul. 25, 51300, Delnice, Croatia). The van drove very fast and erratically (swerving left and right, stamping on breaks at random) and turned up the aircon full-blast. Some members of the group in transit were sick and vomited in the car.

At the police station there were two local officers (one male and one female) in grey uniforms – they were described by the respondent as being kind. They asked personal questions like “age, name, from, and took our pictures”. The transit group of five were forced to sign a document written in Croatian that they did not understand. The group was put in one cell together and given one snack bar per person. They had access to a water fountain and the toilet. The group in transit spent two hours in the police station. 

At 09:00 the group in transit were put into a white Croatian police van, alongside 16 other migrants from the police station who were in different cells based on their ethnicity (from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, Iran and Tunisia). Two officers in black uniforms with ski masks drove the van. They drove for what felt like 10 hours (09:00 – 21:00) arriving at the border near to Hadzin Potok, BiH.

It was very cramped in the back of the van, with some people sitting and some standing. The driving was erratic (swerving left and right, stamping on breaks at random) and the aircon was turned up full-blast. Some members of the group in transit were sick again and vomited in the car. At one point, the van stopped and an officer said to the respondent: “oh problem with police Bosnia” – so the van pulled over and changed direction. 

At 21:00 the van pulled over and the officers in black uniforms with ski masks told the respondent that they were waiting for Bosnian police to leave. After a few minutes, police officers got everyone out of the van, walked the group to the border and lined everyone up. The officers were kicking, pepper spraying, yelling and beating the group in transit with batons;

“GO, GO, GO Bosnia”

The group in transit then walked barefoot through Hadzin Potok to Sturlic, where locals gave them clothes, shoes and some food. The group in transit then caught a bus from Sturlic to Velika Klaudsa.

Impact wound from beating (kicking/batons).
Head wound from being struck by police.