“"You just need to wait and we will decide what will happen"”

  • Date and time: September 10, 2020 05:00
  • Location: Tovarnik, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.148815235633, 19.160895481026
  • Push-back from: Croatia
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 2 person(s), age: 25-30 ,53 , from: Afghanistan, Iran
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving, misleading suggestions
  • Police involved: 3 Croatian police officers in dark blue border police uniform with Croatian coat of arms on the upper arm, 2 officers driving the Van with full face masks, 1 Van
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

At sometime between 8:00 an 9:00 pm on September 9th, the respondent and one other person-on-the-move (From 1 Irani, 1 Afghan)entered into the Croatia village of Šenkovec, close to the River Sutla. In the days prior, the men had travelled through the interior of Croatia from Serbia with the intention of continuing on into Slovenia. The entered into the border village with the intention to buy water for themselves. During this time, a Croatian civilian spoke loudly towards the two, and called the police.

After some time, Croatian authorities arrived to the scene and asked for their documents. The respondent had a passport to show, without visa. The officers asked the other person-on-the-move for the same, however he did not have any documents to show. The officers then took both of them to what the respondent described as a small container which functioned as a police station. There were two female and one male officer at this location. The officers were wearing dark blue uniforms.

They checked the documents of the two people-on-the-move. The respondent additionally described that he had documents in his possession which alluded to his status as an engineer. Both he and his traveling partner expressed an intention to claim asylum. One of the female officers in the container handed him a paper to sigh, however the respondent did not know what it said. The officers only spoke Croatian and did not have a translator present.

During their time in this container, the police officers were only chatted quietly to each other while they waited for a deportation van to arrive. The police officers had taken away the biscuits and water that the respondent and his friend had bought when they were caught,  but at 3 hours into their detention, they were given back this food.

When the van arrived, the respondent noted that it had the word “POLICIJA” written on it. The two officers in the van were wearing full black face masks to disguise themselves. Their uniforms had the Croatian coat of arms on the upper arm. The people-on-the-move thought they would be taken back to Zagreb in order to access asylum procedures.

“You just need to wait, and we will decide what will happen” – about asking for asylum and the illegality of it being declined.

The two people on the move were then driven across the country to Tovarnik. On the way the van stopped somewhere in Croatia to pick up another group of people-on-the-Move. There ended up being around 10 people in the van in total afterwords. On another stop, the officers handed them a bigger envelope to put all their Euros and Kunas in. The officers kept all “modern” phones and powerbanks.

The respondent overheard the officers talking about him inside the car. He thinks they thought he would have more money, because he was an engineer, than his Iranian friend.

During the ride from Šenkovec to the Serbian border the officers took “unusual” roads, like dirt roads and drove very bad. The people-on-the-move inside the van felt sick because of this driving

When they stopped at the border to Serbia it was about 5:00 in the morning and they stopped where the railways from Tovarnik to Šid are. There they beat the respondent repeatedly on the legs and shoulders with a baton. The respondent asked for his passport and other documents back but instead of giving him his documents back they beat him again.

The respondent had hidden his Euros and Kunas while in the deportation van, but when they asked him to take off his clothes and shoes and searched him, they found the additional money. The respondent had the feeling the two officers focused on him because they had not found any Euros on him previously. They beat him again and insulted him.

The officers took him to Serbian territory and told him to “Go!” and never come back.

(Serbian territory: the respondent reported what happened to him at a nearby transit camp to HCIT. Then he went to the doctor to get pictures of his injuries taken. He is still in pain from the injuries. The complaint was sent to UNHCR)