Fresh accusations of migrant abuse have been made against Croatian police. A mountaineer has sent an open letter to the media describing abuses by the authorities against foreigners, to which he was an eyewitness during a weekend expedition on Mount Risnjak.
Croatian police have once again come under fire for violence against and abuse of migrants. This time, the accuser is a Croatian mountaineer who prefers to remain anonymous but who in recent days wrote an open letter to the media describing abuses he had seen during a weekend expedition on Mount Risnjak in the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar in central Croatia.
Abuses described by mountaineer
The mountaineer said that the zone is constantly patrolled by Croatian special police forces ''who protect village homes of the local population and hunt down migrants." He said that, towards evening, when a group of migrants had reached the Alpine shelter to ask for food and water, the police had forced them to lie on the ground and then proceeded to kick them.
''When some of the migrants tried to escape, police began to shoot over their heads. Out of fear, one of the migrants fell in a very steep area and had several bones broken,'' the Croatian mountaineer wrote in the letter.
'Horrified by what he saw'
Other people told the mountaineer that Croatian police often seize the cell phones and other belongings of the migrants and cut the straps of backpacks to prevent them from continuing to walk towards Slovenia.
The mountaineer, who said that he had been horrified by what he saw and heard, has given only the latest in a long string of reports - especially by international humanitarian organisations, Croatian NGOs and the media - that have accused Croatian police over the past two years of collective illegal pushbacks of migrants as well as abuse and violence against them.