Police officers seen in video of violent pushbacks may face 10 years in prison

NEWS 12.10.2021 12:19
Source: Lighthouse Reports

Croatian prosecutors have ordered an investigation of police officers seen in recently published footage of violent pushbacks of migrants on the Croatian-Bosnian border. They are formally suspected of "inhumane and cruel treatment" of people, which, if proven guilty, could mean a 10-year prison sentence for the incriminated officers, state agency Hina said on Tuesday, citing Jutarnji List daily.

Hina did not say how many officers are suspected of having been involved in the incident.

Karlovac County public attorney Vera Magdic-Bizanovic, in charge of the county where the video was filmed, told the daily that following the broadcasted footage by RTL television last week she requested an investigation on the suspicion of “torture and other cruel, inhumane or humiliating conduct or punishment.”

Last Wednesday, a number of European media outlets showed disturbing footage of a migrant pushback on Croatian territory. The footage showed men, wearing balaclavas and unmarked clothes similar to those used by regular Croatian police, pushing migrants across the Korana river towards neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic on Friday confirmed that Croatian police officers were involved in violence against migrants on the Bosnian border. He said that the police who were recorded beating migrants “did not do so under any orders.”

Even if they use force against unidentified persons, police are obliged to write it down in a report at the end of their shift. Jutarnji List, citing unnamed sources, said that in terms of disciplinary responsibility, this could be treated as “unconscientious conduct, excessive, or unreasonable use of force, and humiliation of the person involved.”

Given the circumstances and the “political attention” the case has drawn, Jutarnji said, if the police are found responsible, they could be suspended for a year, or transferred to a “less exposed position” as a result of disciplinary proceedings.


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