“one Croatian officer fired his pistol into the air, seemingly to intimidate the respondents”

  • Date and time: October 28, 2019 01:00
  • Location: Vranovača, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.750584, 15.6727367
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 22, 25, 27 , from: Syria, Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), threatening with guns, gunshots, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 2 Croatian officers in navy blue and black uniforms, 1 Croatian police car, 2 Croatian police vans ; 8 Croatian police in black uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • 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?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On 27th October 2019 at 20.00 a group of three men in transit, one from Morocco and two from Syria, were stopped by Croatian authorities while travelling in a larger transit group consisting of approximately 20 people. Two Croatian officers in navy blue and black uniforms fired pistols into the air and demanded that the group stop. The group was apprehended near Vranovača (HR). The officers lead the group to a nearby spot with one Croatian police car and two Croatian police vans. The transit group was divided and put into vans to be transported. 

The respondents were taken to a police station. The respondent stated that they were in the van for about 20 minutes and assumed they were transported to Korenica (HR) police station (Postaja Granicne Policije Korenica). At the station one Croatian regular officer asked the respondent to sign a document with his personal information, including name and family name. The document was in English and Arabic but there was no translator present. An officer took photos of the respondents’ faces. The group requested asylum, but were ignored. The group was detained for two hours in the station. 

At approximately midnight on 27th October 2019 the transit group was driven for about one hour, transported in Croatian police vans with no windows in the rear and driven recklessly according to the passengers. The respondents state they were taken to a location close to the border with BiH near Bihać. They were disembarked from the vehicle on the border where eight Croatian officers were present in black uniforms.

Once outside of the van, one Croatian officer fired his pistol into the air, seemingly to intimidate the respondents. The group was ordered to remove their clothes and jackets. Their clothing and personal belongings were thrown into a pile and burnt in a fire which was lit by one of the officers.The police also confiscated the group’s mobile phones and power banks, then broke the devices using police batons. Batons were then used by the  police to hit the respondents on their backs and shoulders. Following these strikes with the batons, they were ejected across the border into BiH.