The 59-year-old smuggler has been remanded in custody because there is a strong possibility that he could repeat the same offence and because of the seriousness of his crimes. When the decision on custody expires, the court will discuss possible extensions.
The smuggler was questioned at Karlovac County Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday. The charges included: attempted murder, illegal entry and illegal stay in Croatia. It is suspected that the man conspired with two other unidentified persons to take over, in exchange for monetary compensation, a group of 30 Iraqi and Afghan nationals whom he knew that they had illegally entered Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to transport them across Croatia, onward to other EU member states.
He took over the migrants at Donji Lupac on May 30th and transported them in his van which was was far too small for such a large number of people, he knew full well that they would be travelling in inhumane conditions.
After ignoring signals from two police patrols to stop the vehicle, the human trafficker was stopped in the Donji Srb area near the border with B&H when he came across a third police patrol and tried to drive through a roadblock.
Several migrants in the van were injured due to speeding. Among the migrants were 15 children. Two 12-year-olds suffered severe gunshot wounds after the smuggler ignored orders from the police to stop the vehicle. He stopped only after the police opened fire, after which he jumped out of the vehicle and escaped.
Davor Božinović, the Minister of Interior, pointed out that the police had no way of knowing that they were shooting at a van full of people and claims that they followed standard procedure.
The two migrant children, a boy and a girl, are no longer in life-threatening situations, their wounds having been stabilised soon after being taken to nearby hospitals immediately following the shooting.