“Punched behind the cameras”

  • Date and time: October 14, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Lipovac, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.047724915075, 19.103069842696
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 16, 18, 22 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), pushing people to the ground, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 2 Croatian border police
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent is an 18-year-old man from Afghanistan. On Wednesday, 13th of October, he crossed the border from Serbia to Croatia at 11:30 pm with two other men. 16 and 22 years old, also from Afghanistan.

They were caught at the official border crossing by Croatian border police. There they were forced to kneel down for 3 minutes, as the respondent described. In total, there were 2 border police officers with dark blue uniforms and a badge that for the respondent looked like a triangle on one arm and a circle on the other, which most likely were the police insignias. The respondent said that he recognized one of the officers with green eyes.

After staying for a while in that position, the officers took the group, walking to a place around the border crossing but, as the respondent highlighted and repeated several times, located behind the cameras that are filming the border crossing. The group members were forced to stand facing a wall, and after the first time the police kicked them, they had to kneel against the wall. The police officers kicked them again with their feet and beat the 3 men with batons while shouting to them: “Look the wall, don’t talk”. One of the group members was even punched in the face, in the middle of the eyes, provoking him a hard headache for some days.

Croatian police officers punch one of the friends of the respondent.
picture of one of the group members after he was subjected to the heavy beating of the Croatian police

We don’t know their language, they were shouting look the wall and don’t talk”

After 5 minutes of beating, they had to sign a paper, where their name and their father’s name were written. The paper was written in Croatian language and the authorities did not translate them. After, these papers were handed to the Serbian authorities. The officers also asked for their ID cards, in order to keep them. They also took their phones, but the respondent explained that just before being pushed back they were given back their phones.

The same day, at around midnight, the group was pushed back at the very same border crossing in Lipovac, with the order not to go back to Croatia. None of the group members asked for asylum at any moment.