“If I would have documents, why would I take this risky way?”

  • Date and time: November 25, 2018 00:00
  • Location: Basara, Croatia, Croatian/Bosnian border, Basara/ Rakovica, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.032348, 15.761138
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 21-26 , from: Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, insulting, gunshots, lifting up and throwing to the ground
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

The group of 11 Pakistanis walked 11 days, mainly on snow covered ground, from Bihać (BIH) towards Rijeka (HRV). By Walking through the forests during the days and on the road during the night, they covered a distance between 30 and 35 km per day. On their way, they saw many wild animals. Near Rijeka (HRV), 10 km before the Italian border near Trieste (ITA), and 3 km before the Slovenian border, six Croatian officers in camouflage uniform caught them during the day. Four of the 11 started to run away, but three officers immediately chased them and caught all.

When I see police in blue uniforms I run, but when I see army police, I don’t run.

The officers carried big weapons with lasers and were screaming:

Stop running, why are you running?!”

One of them shot a bullet in the air.

In general, the officers treated them well compared to other Croatian officers in blue uniforms. Because the group of 11 hadn’t eaten anything for three days, they were starving, and the officers gave them fish and whiskey. One of them somehow tried to connect with the respondent whilst waiting for the Croatian officers and showed him a photo of an Indian friend who is a cook.

He thought I am Indian, you white people think we look all the same, but I know the difference between Pakistan and Indian people.”

Afterwards the group of 11 was brought to the police station in Rijeka (HRV). At the police station they were asked for their documents and the respondent answered:

If I would have documents, why would I take this risky way?”

At this time there were about 100 people on the move detained at the police station. They took photos from each of the 11 individuals and asked them about their name and country of birth, names of their parents and why they came to Croatia. No fingerprints were taken, no translation to their mother language was provided, and they received no medical treatment. All of them signed a paper with their personal information, which was never handed out to them. They were told that they will be brought to Zagreb and will be able to apply for asylum there, which turned out as a lie.

After just one hour at the station, the group of 11 and nine other people on the move were brought in a prisoner van to a spot at the CroatianBosnian border near Velika Kladuša. When the van‘s doors were opened, they faced two rows of officers standing next to the back door.

Six officers wearing balaclavas and batons were then targeting the 20 individuals violently, except one minor. One after another had to get off the van and was punched and kicked from each side. This technique is called the Tunnel-Trick.

The respondent had to experience how two officers took his arms and legs, lifted him up and threw him on the ground. He said that he was lucky and didn’t fall so hard on the ground, but his shoulder was still hurting after one month.

The other respondent was separated by two of the officers, had to knee on the ground and was beaten with fists, batons and kicks. He was injured on his head and bleeding (see photo).

Coordinates of capture: 45.558001, 14.075889