Croatia: And yet another case of police violence while people try to reach the European Union.
Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
Ibrahim and other two men from Iran left from Velika Kladusa (Bosnia) and walked for three days to Zagreb (Croatia), from where they took a taxi to move further to Europe. The taxi was stopped by the Croatian police close to the Croatian-Slovenian border around 8 am and all men were transported to the police station, where they were detained until the nigh, around 9 pm.
Inside of the police station, the men were questioned by the officers about their names and nationalities. Ibrahim clearly stated to the police officers that he wanted to claim asylum in Croatia. One of the police men promised to Ibrahim to call the immigration officers who would help them to access the asylum procedure, but this person did not come at any point. After that, the men were asked by the police to sing a paper that was written in the Croatian language and none of them understood what was written there. Ibrahim asked the police several times what was written in the paper, but the police told him only to sign the paper and stop asking the questions and did not provide the men a translator or explanation of the purpose of signing this paper.
Following this, the men were deported to the Bosnian border together with other two men from Pakistan (they were five in total being deported). The journey from the police station to the Bosnian border took around 2,5 hours. According to Ibrahim, the journey was difficult because the van was closed, had no windows nor a ventilation, and inside was a lack of oxygen, so the men had problem to breath. The van was also driving very fast and the men felt sick. The men were driven close to the Bosnian border (the area nearby Velika Kladusa), where they were handed over to other 3 Croatian police officers. These 3 police officers told the men to get in to another car and drove them to a near forest. Ibrahim did not remember the exact location of this forest as the car had no windows, so he could not follow the directions, but he said to me that the forest was close to the official bordercheck point in Velika Kladusa, and there was a corn field and water spring around.
When they reached this forest, it was around midnight. The forest was dark, there were no lights. The police firstly broke the men’s phones and stole their money, taking from Ibrahim 500 euros, from his friend 300 euros and from another one 1000 euros. The police also stole the men’s bags. After that, the men were told by the police officers to get out of the car, one by one, and started physically attacking them by batons:
“They took my friend outside and closed the door. I could not see through the door as there were no windows, but I could hear how they were beating him. This took around 5 minutes. After, they told me to go out of the car and I knew I was going to be beaten. Two police took my hands and one was beating me with a plastic baton into my back, legs, and everywhere. After, they put me on the ground and kept beating me. Their faces were red, and I could smell alcohol from them. I was trying to escape, but I fell into the water. They shouted at me to go back to Bosnia. I run to a little hill and fell down” (Ibrahim).
Once Ibrahim escaped from the police and was on the Bosnian land, he searched for his friends. All of them were pushed to different parts of the border. Once they found each other, they walked back to the camp in Velika Kladusa, and after they all left to Bihac.
Ibrahim described the perpetrators in the following way:
“They were 3 Croatian police officers who picked us up close to the Croatian-Bosnian border,so they work close to the Bosnian border in the police station. They were drunk as they had red faces and I could smell alcohol from them. One was tall and older. The second had no hair, was short and younger. The third one looked normal. They could speak little English, as the only English words they were telling us were: “Shut up! Don’t move!”, but otherwise they were speaking Croatian”
Ibrahim sought a medical help in the hospital in Bihac. According to the x-ray results, he did not have any bone broken. Ibrahim had bruises around his body, particularly his back and arms and had several pains in his back caused by the attack by batons. Ibrahim lots the medical report.
Unrecorded interview by No Name Kitchen (Bosnia & Herzegovina), 21/08/2018
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