Croatia: Prosecution of police accused of beating migrant must herald end of cruel practices at the borders

Following reports that two Croatian police officers have been criminally charged for beating a migrant from Afghanistan who was stopped close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jelena Sesar, Amnesty International’s Researcher for Balkans said:

“This is the first time that a police officer has been charged for committing the type of violence against migrants that we have documented for years - it is therefore a significant step forward.

This is the first time that a police officer has been charged for committing the type of violence against migrants that we have documented for years - it is therefore a significant step forward
Jelena Sesar, Amnesty International

“Despite ample evidence, Croatian authorities have always denied any wrong-doing and refused to sanction perpetrators of police violence. We hope that this is a sign that the Croatian government is finally taking urgent steps to stop the rampant police abuse at its borders, openly condemn violence and hold perpetrators to account.”

 

See: https://www.amnesty.eu/news/croatia-fresh-evidence-of-police-abuse-and-torture-of-migrants-and-asylum-seekers/

BACKGROUND

Croatian police confirmed today that two police officers from Karlovac were charged for beating up a 34-year-old migrant from Afghanistan and causing him injuries that required medical treatment. The two police officers were detained, removed from service and will face both criminal and disciplinary proceedings for grave violations of official duty.

Amnesty International and Guardian reported over the past weeks about fresh evidence of police abuse and torture of migrants and asylum-seekers by Croatian police. A group of migrants told Amnesty International how they were bound, brutally beaten and tortured by officers.

The Croatian Ministry of Interior has always dismissed the allegations, accusing migrants and asylum-seekers of slandering Croatian police in order to gain access to the EU.

The United Nation’s Special Rapporteurs have called on Croatia to investigate police brutality against migrants.