In the early hours of 26th October 2019, four young Afghan males, including two minors, attempted to cross from Serbia into Croatia via the E70 border crossing at Bajakovo. The transit group was removed from a vehicle on the Croatian side of the border at 05:00.
The respondent, aged 16, states that the doors to the vehicle were opened by three Croatian police officers dressed in uniforms, described as “like blue”. Three of the group tried to run to evade the police, but the respondent remained stationary and was taken by the officers. In the end, all four group members were caught by Croatian officers (now a total of four on the scene).
The transit group were led across the concourse area of the crossing and marched down a flight of stairs to a basement room, directly below the outbuildings of Border Crossing Point (BCP).
The respondent described the room as approximately 2m x 4m in size, and empty. The four police officers frisked the four members and took their phones, money and powerbanks. Then the officers began to beat the transit group.
The officers hit them with closed fists and used a baton to strike them. During the beating, one officer used a handheld taser to administer an electric shock to the respondents upper thigh. He also recalls being thrown about by officers in the small room, and one of his companions suffering a scratch on the hand from a protruding nail sticking out of the wall. Describing the manhandling of the group, the respondent stated how the officers pushed them:
“this wall, and this wall”
After the beating the four were forced to sign documents written in a language they did not understand. There was no translation during the period of detention, which lasted approximately 1.5 hours. During this time the officers took pictures of the groups faces and took their names/and details.
After this period of detention in the basement, the four were led out and brought across the border to the Serbian officers, the pushback occuring at approximately 06:30. The group were given their phones back, which had been broken by the Croatian officers.
The transit group were handed over to the Serbian police on the Batrovci side (SRB) along with the paperwork signed in the basement, but the Serbian police took this and ripped the pages in half. Then the four group members walked back to their departure point in Serbia.