Accusations Against Croatian Police’s Treatment of Migrants Not Confirmed

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 21, 2019 – Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Friday inspected the Grabovac border monitoring centre, telling reporters that for now no misconduct had been identified in the police treatment of illegal migrants in a mountain hut on Mount Risnjak and that an investigation was still ongoing.

“Croatian police have interviewed staff. Our reports do not confirm the events from the anonymous report on that day and place, and the police are very strict when it comes to complaints of official misconduct and such behaviour is punished,” Božinović said.

He added that he could not speculate on the motives of a mountaineer who had sent an anonymous letter to the media accusing the police of inhumane treatment of migrants.

He said that “he had no idea” who had sent the anonymous letter and concluded that the police were being criticised by migrants because they had been stopped on their way to Western Europe.

The fact that they managed to enter Croatia fairly easily speaks more of the countries along the way, he said and added that Croatia is a serious country that implements its laws.

The letter sent to the H-alter website by an anonymous mountaineer notes that he saw special police on Mount Risnjak beating migrants with their rifle butts and shooting above their heads to intimidate them.

Replying to reporters regarding a new refugee camp in Vučjak near the town of Bihać in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Božinović said that it was obvious that local authorities were sending a message to the migrants, “head toward Croatia.”

“That hasn’t surprised us. We are always a few steps ahead and anticipate events. We have sufficient forces and technology and are very flexible and mobile and can respond to any challenge,” Božinović concluded.

He underscored that these were not asylum seekers but illegal migrants who wish to find work in western EU countries. Croatia however cannot allow illegal crossings and has no intention of becoming a “hot-spot”, Božinović said, noting that refugees seeking accommodation and asylum in Croatia are being assisted.

Chief of police Nikola Milina said that there were about 600 migrants around Vučjak and about 5,000 in all in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that the police were ready to respond should the migrant pressure increase.

Asked about the misconduct of some police officers toward migrants, Milina said that some officers had been punished, however in most cases these were false accusations, recalling a Syrian refugee who had falsely claimed that he had been separated from his daughter and who was later charged as a result.

He said that the pressure of illegal migrants was constant and that last year more than 1,000 people traffickers had been arrested.

More news about migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.


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