Croatian police have deported two Nigerian table-tennis players to Bosnia and Herzegovina, claiming they were in the country illegally, despite the pair having arrived in Croatia with valid visas.
Abie Uchenna Alexandra and Kenneth Chinedu, students from Owerri Technical University in Nigeria, arrived in Zagreb on November 12 to participate in the sport’s World University Championships in Pula, according to Hina, the government-owned national news agency.
Following the table tennis tournament, they headed from Pula to Zagreb, scheduled to fly back to Nigeria via Istanbul on November 18.
The pair settled into a hostel on November 16 and the following day went to explore the city, reported the Sarajevo-based Zurnal. They were stopped by police as they got off a tram, and arrested as they were not carrying their documents with them.
Emir Prcanovic, director of the Your Rights Organization, which is currently providing legal aid to the Nigerian students, told Al Jazeera that the documentation from the Croatian consulate proves the students’ legal status.
Alberto Tanghetti, a representative of the Inter-University Sports Committee and the organiser of the competition in Pula, said there were a total of five participants from Nigeria – four students and a professor – and confirmed they all had valid visas.
This is coming after; Human Rights Watch’s website posted a video from August shot at the Croatian border, featuring interviews with people just after they were sent to Bosnia by Croatian police.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch warned Croatia in October that the country risked not being admitted into the Schengen area due to their continuing mistreatment of migrants.
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