Fourteen migrants who were treated at the hospital in the northwestern town of Velika Kladusa for minor injuries on Tuesday (13.10) evening told local authorities that they were injured by Croatian police officers who took them back to Bosnian territory after they had crossed the border.
The migrants suffered minor injuries and some were sent for further examinations and X-rays. According to photos posted on social media, the migrants have bruises on various parts of their bodies and faces.
According to the Spokesperson of the Una-Sana Canton (USK), Ale Siljdedic, “push back” operations take place daily, even in non-border areas.
“Those are forest crossings. There are reports of them (migrants) returning with injuries, which are sometimes visible, but it is difficult to prove that the Croatian police did it to them as they claim”, Siljdedic said.
“Doctors are determining whether the injuries occurred during an attempt to cross the border illegally or in a conflict between migrants. In most cases, they claim that the injuries occurred during the pushback, but we cannot prove this”, he said, adding that the USK Interior Ministry submitted all the statements, reports and documentation regarding the incident to the state Security Ministry.
There have been many such reports throughout the past three years, Siljdedic said.
Numerous NGOs have repeatedly raised the issue and warned about the violent treatment of migrants by Croatian law enforcement, but Croatian authorities deny the allegations.