Ombudswoman Refutes Interior Ministry over Controversial Migrant Case

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 16, 2018 – The Office of the Ombudswoman stated on Friday that information regarding the police treatment of a nine-year-old unaccompanied migrant “is an example of disregard for rules” and that any further communication on that topic will be conducted exclusively with the Interior Ministry and other relevant agencies.

The Office of the Ombudswoman recalls that it first warned the Interior Ministry about the police treatment of the 9-year-old unaccompanied migrant in June 2017. In July, the Ministry sent a response explaining that it had accepted the warning from the Office of the Ombudswoman but did not ask for an additional explanation or information on the specific case, the Office said. Thus, claims by the Interior Minister that he does not know what the case is about are groundless, the Office said.

On Thursday, Interior Minister Davor Božinović told reporters, in reference to an alleged case of a nine-year-old unaccompanied migrant being deported from Croatia, that no such case was found in police records.

Božinović said that it was odd that the public was debating the case yet there was no information of who the child was or when its deportation occurred. “What I do know is what I said yesterday – that the chief police director wrote to the Ombudswoman requesting information on the matter considering that there is no evidence of any such case in the police records,” Božinović said when asked whether there was any news on the case after Ombudswoman Lora Vidović warned the police about their behaviour toward migrants.

The Office of the Ombudswoman said that in the meantime it had again provided the law enforcement authorities with all relevant information about the case.

It welcomed the Minister’s call for avoidance of public debates on the case, noting that further communication on the topic would therefore be conducted only between the Office and the Interior Ministry and other relevant bodies so as to prevent heightening tensions that divert public attention from insistence on efficient investigations of the police treatment of migrants in irregular situations.


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