“After the assault the men could barely walk”

  • Date and time: October 28, 2018 00:00
  • Location: Gornji Bukovac Žakanjski, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.626265864268404, 15.341080445947455
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 15 person(s), age: 22-29 , from: Palestine, Syria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian officers in blue uniforms, 5 Croatian officers in black uniforms, wearing face masks and holstered pistols
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Balkan Info Van

Original Report

The group of 15 men traveled by foot through Croatia. They had been walking for three days when they were suddenly blinded in the dark by the headlights of a police car. They couldn’t see the car, but they heard it driving towards them while they were at a semi-rural, very dark spot. Four Croatian officers in blue uniforms approached them and forced the men to hand over their belongings including money and phones. When one of them told them he just wanted to pass, the police replied:

“You will go back”.

The 15 of them were then detained for approximately 24 hours while they were questioned about their means of travel. After this, they were separated into different vehicles. The respondent had to enter an estate car with one other 22-year-old individual and was driven for around 2,5 hours until midnight when they reached a farmland area. Soon after, the doors of the van were opened the officers started beating them:

“I only walk one minute [before they started to beat] my hand, my head, my leg.”

Five officers dressed in black Croatian uniforms and wearing balaclavas attacked him from all sides. One of the individuals was asked by one officer:

“Where are you from?”
“I am from Palestine.”

The officer replied by beating him even more with his baton. As they were beaten on the ground, the officers insulted them. Eventually the attack finished. The resulting injuries include severe contusions on the head, hands, arms and legs. After the assault, the men could barely walk. But with no money and phone they were forced to do so anyway, 30 km from the point of push-back all the way to Velika Kladuša (BIH).