The group of five left Bosnia by entering the underside of a truck at a village nearby Bihać (BIH). They crossed the border to Croatia on the evening of November 23, 2018. Shortly after crossing the border, the truck driver parked the vehicle to sleep for the night before beginning to drive again the next morning.
The next morning, on November 24, at about 8 am, one of the individuals moved around and made some noises in the back of the truck. Supposedly after hearing these noises, the truck driver stopped the vehicle and called the authorities. The officers arrived in a white Iveco police van with a blue stripe on the side and a windowless backspace.
The five of them got off the truck voluntarily without any opposition and faced seven officers wearing dark blue uniforms. They were then handcuffed and frisked in the parking lot. All their belongings were checked and their phones and money were taken. The respondent expressed his wish to claim asylum in Croatia, but the officer responded:
“There is no asylum here, you go back to Bosnia”.
Each one of the five had to write down his name, surname, and country of origin on a form but didn’t have to sign it. One hour after the first police van, a second one arrived with another officer and one driver. The officers already present handed the latter ones a bag with the group’s phones over. Then, the group of five had to enter the back of the second police van.
Their driver was a 40 to 45 year-old man with white skin and brown hair.
“The driver, he only does the transport, he just brings refugees to the border, that’s it”.
“One by one we get out of the van, the other stayed in the van. The door is closed after each person getting off, one by one, they get beaten. My friend in the van he doesn’t see what is happening. After they say go away, go away. After a new person – ta ta ta (imitating with his hand someone who beat) – after go away”.
“They beat without any pity, they don’t have heart. They are criminals”.
There were ten officers waiting at the border when the van arrived. All of them wore black balaclavas and dark blue uniforms, one of them was female. The push-back was approximately 28 kilometers away from Velika Kladuša (BIH).
As soon as the five of them got off the van, they were beaten with a large baton, around 1.2 to 1.5 meters long. The respondent was beaten on his head four times with that baton which left him with an open wound. He was also beaten on his arm and knee, not only with a baton, but also with trees branches. Further, the officers destroyed all the group’s phones with their batons.
After they managed to run away and crossed to Bosnia, at around 11 am, they stopped a random van driving on the road and asked the driver to bring them to a hospital. He gave them a lift to the Miral camp near Velika Kladuša (BIH). There, the security called an ambulance for two of the people, including the respondent. At the hospital, he received two stitches on his head. He asked for a medical paper attesting the wound and the medical care, but according to him the doctor refused to give him.