“We tried to run away, but we were weak and the police they were four in good condition”

  • Date and time: November 23, 2018 16:00
  • Location: nearby Ćehići, Bosnia
  • Coordinates: 44.978549392995504, 15.784888959277396
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 12 person(s), age: some 17, others unknown , from: Algeria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), gunshots
  • Police involved: Initial capture: 4 officers in green uniforms; police station: 2-3 officers in dark blue uniforms; pushback: 8 officers in dark blue uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: personal information taken, papers signed, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The group of 11 left Bihać, crossed the border to Croatia and continued walking for nine days.

“We arrived nearby the Slovenian border, before to get to the border, it began to freeze, we could not keep walking in the jungle, we will fall, it is cold, there is wind.” 

Due to the weather conditions, they decided to continue on the road but after five kilometers, four officers wearing green uniforms arrived.

“We tried to run away, but we were weak and the police they were four in good condition. They fired and then caught us.” 

“They caught me, they forced me to my knees, then they called the police van. We have walked one kilometer, on foot. Then we arrived at a police van. They caught ten persons before, more or less […]. There is some Algerians, some Egyptians.” 

At the van, there were two or three more officers, wearing dark blue uniforms. They transported the group together with other people on the move who were already inside the van to a police station.

“We exited the van to go to another van. To take my name and everything, there was two vans. After the police took us one by one, we went down the van, they ask us what our name is and took a picture. It was on a small parking. After I saw a building, it is the police station. It isn’t far, just beside. When you go, on your left side there is a building, it is a bit on an upper part, and the police station is down.”

They didn’t enter the station but switched vehicles there and did the administrative process on the parking lot. The officers asked the 11 individuals for their identity and made them sign papers in a language none of them could understand. They didn’t take fingerprints.

“By the way, I never give my real name. I’m afraid because I already try to leave Bosnia several times. I’m afraid, they will say we already beat this guy and he came back. Sometimes I say that I am from Algeria, sometimes Tunisia, sometimes Syria and my name, it is never a real one.” 

The respondent expressed his wish to claim asylum in Croatia:

“Normally each person should have the right to claim asylum. For example, when I go to Croatia, I have the right to claim asylum. Them, they can’t give me the kit, normally it should be like this, but they will even not give you the right to claim it. At night, they will bring you back. I asked for asylum, but they laughed at me. They told me who told you that you can get asylum here, there is no asylum and they made fun at us.” 

When the respondent was in the van, they looked at him, laughed and said:

“This is your bus!”

They separated the group by two and made them sit in different vans. They had to wait for hours inside the van which was medium size, maybe a Toyota or Nisan. The 15 people on the move stayed in it until approximately midnight, without any food or water.

“We were 15 persons in the van, we can not even sleep, because the van is a small one.”

“The van was closed, [I could see] just a bit, there was a small window behind the driver, with a curtain, you can see a bit. After, we hit the van, because we heard people just aside the van, police officers. We hit the van, we will ask them to give us food and drink. But, no answer.”

Finally, they were brought to the Bosnian border. While they were stopped there, one officer carrying papers opened the door, looked at them and closed it again. Outside of the van there were approximately six officers wearing dark blue uniforms and two officers a bit further away. A female officer was the first standing outside of the van. When the respondent exited the van, he dropped something onto the ground and the woman demanded him to take it back, but he got afraid to be beaten and left without it. After this, about five officers beat them with batons.

Altogether, there were four vehicles at the border. Two vans transporting the people on the move and two cars, one of them a pick-up truck.

When the group entered Bosnia again, they arrived on a road, where they could see a mosque up a hill on the left side. Then they saw a sign for Velika Kladusa to the right and Bihać to the left. Walking further they passed a gas station and a checkpoint, thou they were not sure if it was for a highway or a border checkpoint.