“They Asked to Be Taken To Zagreb for Asylum and Were Told, 'No, You Can't'”

  • Date and time: October 15, 2019 00:00
  • Location: Jezera, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.844055, 15.808321
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 22-25 years old , from: Algeria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), water immersion, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: Unknown number of Croatian police in blue uniforms, 7 Croatian police in black uniforms, 1 police van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

A group of four men in transit were spotted by a civilian at the Jezera (HR) bus station on 14th October 2019. The civilian called the police and when two Croatian officers began to approach the group, the respondent and one other man from the group ran to a nearby park. The other two members of the transit group were caught at the bus station (and were later pushed back into BiH).

The respondent and his friend hid in the trees with the intent of continuing their journey, but soon were spotted by Croatian police. At approximately 00:00 on 15th October, Croatian police in blue uniforms stopped the two men in transit. The respondent expressed intent for asylum and told the officer:

“We want to go to Zagreb to get asylum.”

The officer responded:

“No you can’t. You can go to Bosnia.” 

The two men were then transported in a white Croatian police van with tinted windows which they could not see out of. They were taken directly to the Bosnian border, the respondent suggesting the transport was someway into the BiH interior. The respondent estimates the coordinates of the pushback are 44.844055, 15.808321. Near the river in Papari (BiH) the men were ordered out of the van where seven Croatian in black uniforms were present.

Only one of the officers spoke. The other six officers formed a perimeter around the two men. The one officer demanded the respondent take out his phone and power bank. The respondent was forced to give them to the officer. The officer also took the respondent’s sunglasses. Then the encirclement of officers took turns hitting the men with batons. The respondents were pushed into the river with their clothes on, and the Croatian police left.