On the 24th of November at around 12pm, a group of 6 people (3 teenagers and 3 adults) was apprehended by Croatian authorities in the proximity of Road D23 in Croatia and subsequently pushed back to Šturlić, Bosnia and Herzegovina. During their pushback, the group experienced physical violence.
The respondent describes that they were walking when the police caught them. According to the respondent’s description, both the Granicna Policija – the Croatian Border Police and the Specijalna Jednica Policija – Croatian Special Police (SJP) were present during their pushback.
The respondent claims the presence of 6 to 8 policemen, 1 car, blue with a line and “Police” written on the door, and 2 white vans. According to the respondent, the officers he identified as Border Police called the SJP authorities to transport them to the Police Station in the two white vans. Moreover, when asked if the group members asked for asylum, the respondent replied that the police did not listen to them; They assumed because the police could not speak English.
The respondent recalls that when at the police station, he was in a room where the police officer asked repeatedly to hand over their power banks and mobile phones, and other belongings. The respondent recalls that the policemen stole 3 mobile phones, 4 power banks, about € 300 cash, and a “bank card”. He also recalls that they were searched by them, each person was checked by a different police officer “one police for one person”, and he recalls that one member of the group, a minor, forgot that he had a nail cutter in his pocket, and when the police found it, the respondent claims that the police officer started to punch and kick him.
“When he finds the nail cut from his back, he beating him, so badly, I saw him, so badly he beat this person” (pointing to the teenager with the bruising on his leg).
When ask where he was beaten, the respondent describe:
“They do not beat with the stick anymore, cause, when I beat you with a stick, you can see it, it does do this (point to the bruises on the teenagers’ legs), they are now beating with the foot, with the hands that you can’t see this (pointing to the same bruise) […] with the foot, every policemen have the big one shoes”
The respondent claims that everyone was beaten by the police officers and that they were asking them:
“Why you are coming Croatia? Why you coming for asyl? Why you coming for this? why you are coming? I don’t know what they want, they are beating us so badly”.
The respondent also claims that some police officers were drunk:
“also 3, maybe 3 or 4 persons too much drinking, one is with me, in the police station, they were so drinking, I know from his mouth”.
The respondent recalls that the police officers forced them to undress completely and they searched him, touching the genitals and the backside:
“They take off all of our pants, our clothes, it was so cold, all the underwear, they taking all off, checking from in front to the back, so badly, they are checking so badly, I can’t define it.”
Then the police officer threw all the clothes, bags, and documents that they had brought into the bin. The respondent claims that the policemen locked them in another room for about three hours. The respondent describes the room as small and really cold; he also claims that when they asked for food or a toilet, no one replied:
“it was so cold, we are knocking for toilet, no one come, we knocking for food, no one come, just three hours, maybe three hours, four hours we are stayed there”.
The respondent recalls that after the detention, some police officers arrived together with the SJP police officers: “came another police, I don’t know, we are surrounded of all, we are surrounded like two police, green colour, blue colour, I don’t know what they want to”.
The respondent claims that they were transported to the border close to Šturlić in Bosnia Herzegovina, in the same van around 6 pm, wearing just a T-shirt and pants. At the border, they got beaten again,
“it’s two time they are beating us, one time in the police station, one time when you are coming at the border”.
The respondent describes they were beaten “so badly” one by one while they were forced to cross the border into Bosnia:
“this is the border, they say go, when you go, they are beating you, one person, after that has turn beating his (pointing a group member), after that me, after that this person, they say this is the border, go”.