The respondent is a 30-year-old man from Afghanistan. He is trying to reach central Europe together with his friend a 31-year-old man and his friend’s cousin, a minor of 17 years. The three men started in Bosnia and walked until they reached Gospic, Croatia from where they had bought some bus tickets in order to reach Zagreb to ask for asylum in the camp.
The morning of the 13th of August at 9 a.m. they were waiting for the bus in the bus station of Gospic. The bus was supposed to be arriving in only 3 minutes but a policewoman approached them just before the arrival of the bus. She was wearing a light blue police uniform with the Croatian flag sewed on it and the word “policija” written on it. The policewomen asked for the IDs of the respondent and his companions, IDs that they ironically do not possess anymore because some Croatian police officers had destroyed them in a previous pushback. The respondent informed the policewomen about this. He also pledged her to please let him and his friend get on the bus to ask for asylum.
“I said let me go please. I want asylum. You have a kind heart please. But she just said NO”.
In the meantime, the bus had arrived and the driver asked the respondent if he was getting on it, but the policewoman answered instead saying that the three men were with her. When the respondent understood that he was not going to reach Zagreb he described that got a panic attack and fainted on the ground.
He recalls waking up in what he believes is a police station. He described that he saw the Croatian flags and a policeman in a light blue uniform in front of him. He was alone in a room without his friends. When he woke up the police called a doctor. The respondent says that the doctor was very rude and was loudly talking to the policeman in Croatian. The respondent believes that the doctor was saying to the police that he had faked to faint and to deport him.
“The doctor is saying: you lie. He is saying the police this migrant fake, deport deport”
Then the policeman grabbed him by the arm and took him outside. Outside the police station, there was a white van in which the respondent was loaded. Inside of the vehicle, he found his friend and cousin that had been loaded in the van in the meantime.
Once loaded in the van, two policemen in light blue uniforms drove the respondent and his friends to Zeljava (Croatia) next to the border with Bosnia. It was a one-hour and a half drive approximately and the whole incident lasted a couple of hours.
When they reached Zaljava the policemen ordered them to leave all their personal belongings on the ground. They took all these objects including phones, power banks, money, and bags. When the personal belongings were on the ground they indicated the road to Bosnia, saying “go” with a hand gesture.
The respondent wanted to take his phone quickly and run. But as he moved the police grabbed him by the shoulder taking out his gun.
“he point the gun in my head and say ‘take something I shoot’. We started to run”
When the respondent turned his head he saw the police officers burning their personal belonging in a fire.
“They take our phones because they want to slow us. They take our phone we try the game later. Is hard to find a new phone”
The respondent concluded his report by saying how exhausting it is to be pushed back and to be experiencing this high level of violence
“When you go on game, you walk you don’t feel tired, you don’t felel 10 hours of walking. When they deport it is like you walk for 10 months. We have no hope. It takes all the energy away”