“one officer produced a handheld taser and used it to administer an electric shock”

  • Date and time: October 26, 2019 01:00
  • Location: Close to Lipovac, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.06446977063772, 19.098320001582465
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 16,18,19 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, electric shock, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 3 Croatian police officers; 1 Croatian 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?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, Balkan Info Van

Original Report

At approximately 00:00 on 26th of October 2019 a transit group, consisting of three Afghan males aged 16, 18 and 19, were walking in the Croatian interior.

They were stopped by police in woodland near a small town, identified by the respondent as likely to be Rokovci (HR). The respondent suggested that the police had observed the transit group with night vision technology because the officers came upon the men suddenly with torch lights.

There were three authorities, the respondent could not remember the uniforms of the authorities due to the dark conditions, but he identified them as “Croatian police”. The officers showed their flashlights at the transit groups  faces and shouted:

 “Police, stop, sit!”

The men crouched to the ground in response, at which point the officers surrounded their position and began to beat the transit group with batons, punches, and kicking; in the process one officer produced a handheld taser and used it to administer an electric shock to the respondents leg.

Personal belongings were also removed by the officers. The transit group were then brought by the three officers out of the woods to a nearby roadside. As the men arrived at the road they saw a police van. The officers took the men’s pictures with a phone, then they were loaded into the vehicle which was described as having no windows.

The van doors were closed and it was driven for approximately 30 minutes. The respondents said the air conditioning in the rear was very cold and imitated the shivering it induced. at approximately 01:00 on the 26th of October 2019, the men were brought out of the van it was still dark and the respondent recalls the location as a baron area with no houses; “only jungle”.

As they descended from the vehicle the officers (the same three from the apprehension) were waiting at the rear  and proceeded to break the men’s phones with their fists.

Phones broken by Croatian police at the border site where the transit group were pushed back (AM, 26th October 2019)

As for the other confiscated belongings:

“money and power banks in pocket”

is how the respondent described the method used by the police to steal their possessions. The officers then beat the transit group again, this time using a baton and swinging it at the back of their heads as they ordered the men towards Serbian territory. The respondent recalls being forced towards a ditch (and struggling to cross the area indicated).

The three men walked for approximately 15 minutes before finding they were completely lost, and with no GPS or roads to make their bearings the men were forced to sleep on the open ground with no blankets or provisions. When the sun came up they walked further, eventually getting their bearings and returning to the town of Sid (SRB). From the respondents description of the incident, the fact that it took the men approximately five hours to walk back, and their arrival point to Sid from the south side of the railway tracks, it appears the men were pushed back at the above proximate location (close to the Lipovac/Batrovci border crossing.