On 2nd November 2019 at 10.00 a group of ten men in transit from Algeria and Morocco were apprehended in Gorači (HR) by two Croatian regular police in blue uniforms. The group in transit had stopped to get water and cola at a store. The respondent was feeding a stray dog and when a Croatian officer approached the group and began to kick the dog in the neck repeatedly. The respondent and several others in the group yelled for the officer to stop. The officer stated,
“You say nothing. You stay quiet.”
The group was apprehended and then transported in a Croatian police van to a police station in Rijeka (HR) and detained for several hours. They were not given documents to sign. They were denied food and water.
At about 13:00 the group was pushed back to the HR/BiH border close to Šturlić. There were eight Croatian police in black uniforms, several of which were wearing ski masks. The officers beat the respondents with batons and with their fists. They searched the group’s pockets and removed all nine phones and several power banks which were hit and broken using batons. One respondent had 20 euros in his pocket which were stolen. The group was forced to remove their socks and shoes which were burnt in a large fire. Croatian police then stood behind the individuals and created a barrier to prevent them from walking away from the river. The respondent was forced to walk through the river.
“The water was up to my waist,” he said.
This use of the river resulted in the respondent’s clothing to be noticeably wet and cold until late that evening, and still damp when the report was conducted.
The respondent walked for three hours to Velika Kladuša with no shoes.