“This is my future, I must dream, I must, I must”

  • Date and time: November 7, 2018 00:00
  • Location: near Rijeka, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.3270631, 14.442176000000018
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 7 person(s), age: 28, others unknown , from: Pakistan, Egypt
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian officers (3 men and one woman, in black uniforms)
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent left Velika Kladusa (BIH) alone and crossed the border to Croatia, where he wanted to apply for asylum, by foot. He walked almost 180 km through difficult terrains, forests and mountains until he almost reached Rijeka (HRV). He said that he had pain in his ankle, he had sprained it at some point and his foot was bleeding from a blister. Therefore, he struggled to continue his journey. On November 7, 2018, he was caught by four Croatian officers, three men and one woman, wearing black uniforms.

He told the officers about the pain in his ankle and asked them if they could help him to reach medical assistance. But they didn’t react to his request and told him to undress completely, including his underwear, and frisked his body while he was standing there naked. The officers took his money, €20 and phone.

I asked him, why did they act to me like that? I am not dangerous, I am not a thief. I don’t want to stay in Croatia, only [passing] in jungle. I need asylum in Europe and stay in Europe. But the police only said to me: This is my job.” 

Then, the officers transported him with a van to the Bosnian border, without letting him access any legal procedures or obtain medical help. He said that the van stopped on the way to the border and picked up six Pakistani people on the move, who were later pushedback with him to Bosnia. Once they arrived at the border, approximately 18 km away from the official border checkpoint near Maljevac (HRV)/Velika Kladusa (BIH), the officers told the seven of them to get out of the car and started beating the Pakistanis with batons while shouting at them to go back to Bosnia. They didn’t physically hurt the respondent thou.

After the push-back at around 11 pm the following evening, the respondent walked back 18 km with his injured, bleeding ankle to Velika Kladuša. There, he was later treated by a team of doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres. At the end of the interview, he explained that he could not return to Egypt due to the violent government. This was his sixth attempt to reach asylum in Europe, and he says that he will keep trying despite all the difficulties or injuries:

“This is my future, I must dream, I must, I must. I tell you my sister, maybe I finish my dream, maybe I finish my life. I need to finish my dream and my future, I need to see Europe. And if this is not finished, I finish my life. Maybe death, maybe walk.”