“The group was alerted by a gunshot into the air”

  • Date and time: October 5, 2021 21:00
  • Location: Berkasovo, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 45.175911293266, 19.263377406978
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 2 person(s), age: 29, 57 years old , from: Iran
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: threatening with guns
  • Police involved: 2 Croatian border police officers, 3 Croatian "special police" officers, 1 police car
  • 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: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Tuesday, October 5th at 8 pm, two men from Iran aged 29 and 57 years attempted to cross the Serbian-Croatian border on foot near the village of Molovin. The respondent described that the weather was cold and that it was raining, which made the ground sludgy and the walking difficult. The men walked through the fields until they reached two fences at the border. They successfully crossed the first fence. After crossing also the second fence on the Croatian side around 2km into the forest, at around 9 pm they were alerted by a gun being shot into the air. The respondent described that when they were gazing in the direction of the gunshot, they noticed two men and one woman.

Location the respondents were first apprehended.

The three people shone head torches into the respondents’ eyes, blinding them. One of the men was pointing what has been described as a sniper rifle at the respondents, aiming down a telescopic sight. He cocked the rifle, making an audible clicking noise. They were wearing black, plastic wellington boots, hats, and military-style, khaki green uniforms with no insignia. All of the group carried similar weapons. They shouted at the respondents, “we are police Croatia”. When the respondents were shown an image of the Croatian “special police”, they confirmed that this was probably the group that they met.

The three officers spoke on the radio and shortly after a police car with two officers arrived. The officers have been described as wearing light blue shirts with black trousers, consistent with the Croatian Granicna Policija [border police]. The officers searched the respondents’ bags and bodies, confiscating a plastic bag containing a sum of money, chargers, headphones, and mobile phones. The officers then drove them to the border near Berkasovo.

Location of pushback.

At the border the men were given their belongings back. With no Serbian police present, the men were taken out of the car and ordered to walk back across the border. Reportedly, one of the officers took out his baton, saying “don’t come back to Croatia. If you come back, you get this”. The men then walked to Berkasovo. Towards the end of the interview, the respondent remarked that before it was standard for transit groups to make it 10-50km over the border before being caught, but due to increased patrols, now they were lucky to make it over 2km.