Zagreb, April 20 – Zagreb, april 20th – Family of 6 years old Medina Hosseini from Afghanistan who died at the Serbian-Croatian border when Croatian police returned them to railroad and sent them to walk back to Serbia, when the sleepy and tormented child was hit by a train in the dark, still have troubles with their rights in Croatia.
After Medina’s death, who in Serbia was legally represented by APC and our team helped to establish the facts about her death, this family with eleven children, five of them minors, was once again returned from Croatia. After that, they entered Croatia again a month ago and asked for international protection and asylum.
They were received in the Transit Reception Centre for Foreigners Tovarnik. However, their lawyer Sanja Bezbradica Jelavić judging by the messages from the oldest girl from Hosseini family, stated that this center is closed off and prison like. According to Sanja Bezbradica Jelavić’s claims, the family is accommodated in three different rooms without possibilities of seeing or contacting each other, except during the meals, without any further explanations and with the deliberate restriction of contact with legal aid providers.
At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior informed Sanja Bezbradica Jelavić that she cannot be their legal representative because authorization for legal representation was signed in Serbia, and at the same time she is representing the family in a lawsuit against unknown police officers in the Ministry of the Interior who are charged for causing the death of the underage girl Medina. This is allegedly illegal.
The European Court of Human Rights was informed about this case and delivered the decision on temporary measure in which, orders the Ministry of the Interior to accommodate the family in the ambience where they won’t be subject to inhuman or humiliating actions. The Court expressed the hope that Croatia won’t deport the family to Serbia or Afghanistan until they deliver the answers to questions the Court sent.
This measure hasn’t been implemented yet, but the activists from Are You Syrious (AYS) and Center for Peace Studies (CMS) were being ill-treated by police with the intention to hide that police officers are responsible for Medina’s death, the activists from AYS and CMS announced at the press conference.
They described several situations where they consider threats from the Ministry of the Interior. One of the examples are announcements of the Ministry on their Twitter account that police officers invited Sanja Bezbradica Jelavić to informal talks by coming to her door. Ms Bezbradica Jelavić stated that she tried to get in touch with the Hosseini family, however police informed her that according to their knowledge she is not their legal representative. PN USKOK was sent to her office to check the signatures on legal authorizations.
Besides that, three activists of Are You Syrious were invited to informal talks with police, and misdemeanor charges had been initiated against organization Are You Syrious volunteers for allegedly helping Medina’s family with illegal border crossing, although the police was contacted immediately after the Hosseini family got in touch with AYS and the family was contacted together with police, the activists said at the press conference.
Considering all of the above, the organizations declared that they will require establishment of an inquiry commission from the Committee for interior politics and national security and from the Committee for human rights. The commission should investigate how “police can engage in such a rough abuse of repressive apparatus directed towards activists and human rights lawyers”.
The two organizations announced that the Council of Europe, European Commission and European Parliament will be informed of recent events and that “these practices are inconsistent with forthcoming Croatian presiding of Council of Europe and preparations for entering the Schengen zone.”
Are You Syrious, Center for Peace Studies and lawyers requested from Ministry of Interior to immediately implement the measure brought by European Court of Human Rights and release the family and accommodate them in safe open type accommodation and to enable them right to legal representative.