“A windowless detention cell”

  • Date and time: October 15, 2019 17:00
  • Location: Bajakovo border crossing
  • Coordinates: 45.0479830432769, 19.102518705929015
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 15-17 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian border police officers, 1 police van, unknown number of Serbian police, 1 vehicle
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name Kitchen

    Original Report

    On the early evening of 15th October the three young males (all minors) intended to enter Croatia at Bajakovo border crossing, hidden in a car. Shortly after crossing the checkpoint, the car was pulled over and the three were quickly found and ordered to leave by two officers, dressed in dark blue uniforms as used by Croatian border police. According to the respondent that order was followed without any form of resistance.

    The respondent asserted their swift detection was the result of the use of scanners deployed along the border, as there was no extensive inspection of the vehicle leading to their detection. Once apprehended, they were moved into the border station and led down into the basement where they found a – following the respondents statement –

    “windowless detention cell”.

    After descending into the basement, the three were relieved of their personal belongings by the officers, such as their mobile phones, power banks and a significant amount of money. Regarding himself, the respondent mentioned at this point the amount of 110 Euro was stolen. After the officers had withdrawn everything apart from their clothing, the beating started. The two officers that had them detained, together with another two that were in the stations basement, battered the group for around ten minutes, using their fists and rubber batons, as well as kicking them with their “heavy boots”.

    When the violence had finished, the names of the detainees were taken and they were made to sign documents, provided in Croatian and English. Note, that the respondent himself does not speak either of the languages and a translator was not present at the time. None of the three individuals expressed the intention to ask for asylum at any point.

    When the officers had completed their documentation, the group was ordered to leave the station and loaded into the back of a white, windowless van, that consisted of a caged compartment. The respondent believed this to be a Fiat – Transit. After a short ride of two minutes they were discaged at the Serbian side of the border (Batrovci) and given back their electronics, but not without the officers destroying them first. The police disabled the charging ports with screwdrivers and broke the glasses of the phones with their boots.

    Photos of damage made by HR officials.

    The three were then handed over to Serbian authorities, who drove them back to the town of Sid and released them at the city limits.