“ We had to put our eyes down. If you look into their eyes, then they kick and hit with sticks.”

  • Date and time: October 7, 2020 12:00
  • Location: Near Plitvički Ljeskovac, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.851077, 15.602289
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 50-60 person(s), age: 19-40 years old , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 10-12 Croatian officers, some in all black uniforms and some in camouflage uniforms, all male.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On the 7th October, at around 12:00 noon, a group of 40 to 50 people from Afghanistan were deported from Croatia to Bosnia. The group were all male and there were no minors present. The respondent, a 28-year-old-man, reported that a group of 140-150 people had been walking for 3 days in Croatia when they were caught near a lake [44.851077,15.602289]. There were 10 to 12 officers, some were in black clothes and a few were in camouflage uniforms. The uniforms had names on but the respondent said he couldn’t read the names because “we have to put our eyes down. If you look in their eyes then they kick and hit with sticks.” The officers collected all the people in one place, and told them to take off their shoes. The officers checked the bags of the group and took all the money that they found.

 

After waiting a short time, 6 or 7 vans arrived to transport the group. There were 18-20 people in each van, no windows and no air conditioning. The respondent reports being in the van for 4-6 hours before arriving at a police station. It was impossible for him to know the location of this as he had no phone and no orientation after the van ride. The group were held at the police station for 4 or 5 hours in a concrete room. Several people asked to claim asylum in Croatia, but were ignored. No papers were presented and no-one told them what was happening. There were 50-60 people in the room, there was no food or water and no toilet facility. The respondent said “They wait until night to deport us.” The group were returned to the same vehicles as before (how many vehicles this time is uncertain) and were taken to this location (44.738864,15.907170). When they reached the border the officers took each group-member one at a time, searched their whole body and made a fire with all the belongings, including clothes. The respondent said he wasn’t beaten badly this time, “only two sticks”, but his friend was kicked and beaten with a baton. The group pushed back had to walk continuously until they reached the city of Bihac, Bosnia. It was too cold for them to stop moving without any clothing. Without phones, it took them one day to walk back to the city.