“8 Police Officers Formed A Tunnel Around the Group To Repeatedly Beat Them As They Were Blinded By Flashlights”

Red bruising on the respondent's back from being beaten with a baton
  • Date and time: October 20, 2019 04:00
  • Location: Crevarska Strana, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.351798, 15.820606
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 24-28 years old , from: Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, detainment in van, blinding with torchlight
  • Police involved: 5 Croatian regular police in blue uniforms, 8 Croatian police in black uniforms with ski masks, 1 Croatian police van
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

On 19th October 2019 a group of four men from Morocco were in transit in Croatian territory. The group were travelling by car for approximately one hour when they arrived at a toll booth. At 20.00 a civilian waved at the vehicle and yelled, ”Stop! Immigrant! Arab!”. The vehicle stopped and the civilian approached to ask the respondent if he is from Palestine. The respondent stated he is from Morocco.

Ten minutes later they were stopped by a Croatian police vehicle, inside which was five officers. The group was ordered to exit the vehicle and get into the Croatian police van. The respondent expressed intent for asylum and was told:

“No, no asylum.”

The group were not taken to a police station, but instead were detained inside the van for several hours while it sat stationary. At this point it was very dark and it was already passed midnight (on day of apprehension). The van was started and driven for some time.

At approximately 04.00 on 20th October 2019, the van stopped at the HR/BiH border near Velika Kladusa. Eight Croatian police in black uniforms were outside the van stood in two lines. The group exited the van one by one while several of the officers used flashlights to impair their vision as they emerged into the darkness outside.

The other police officers beat the men one by one and then pushed each man down the line. Together the eight officers created a tunnel to trap the group and continuously beat them with fists and batons.

Red bruising on the respondent’s back from being beaten with a baton

After being beaten one officer commanded them to take out their four mobile phones, which were then smashed with batons by the officers.

“I have lost all my memories,”

remarked the respondent as he tried to look at photos of his family which were on his mobile phone. In total the officers took about 200 euros from the group, before ordering them to walk back to BiH. From the beating the respondent’s lip was bleeding and he had a large bruise on his back which matches the shape of a baton.

Two of the respondent’s phones were broken with police batons