The respondents are 3 Iranian men all around 40 years old. They were trying to reach Italy together with another fellow Iranian friend. In previous attempts, they had tried to ask for asylum in Slovenia but ended up being pushed back to BiH. In the afternoon, when the group was in Koper (Slo), they were stopped by a police officer in plainclothes who showed them his police badge and his gun. The group immediately told him that they were trying to seek asylum. After a phone call a black van with 6 police officers in black and blue uniform with the Slovenian flag stitched on it came. Amongst them there were two woman and four man. Again, the group expressed the intention to seek asylum.
“My friend told them 5 times, 6 times: we want asylum. They were kind, told us that they were going to give us asylum if we followed them”
Thus, the group was brought to the local police station in Koper. They stayed there for one night. Water and food were provided, and they slept on the chair of the room where they were kept. The following morning, they were brough to another room by two of the police officers that had been with them the day before. In the room there were 3 men from Afghanistan. Here their pictures were taken and all of them were handed some documents in Slovenian with no translation.
“We were signing happily, thinking it was paper for asylum. Later we understood we were signing our own deportation paper”
After the group signed, they were taken to a black van. The respondents do not recall how long exactly the journey lasted. They were feeling calm assuming that they were being transported to the camp in Slovenia. They could not see anything from the car but when the door opened, they saw a police station and Croatian flags. The respondents do not know where they were as the window’s shutter were down and describe to have been so nervous that they cannot really recall even what time it was.
“In Croatia everything changed. The police were angry. I guess they just hate migrant people. My friend had to take a tablet for a stomach problem, they took it from him and did not let him have his medicine.”
In the police station the group was checked by the police officers who intensely palpated the men reaching even their underwear.
“Everyone, we were feeling like we were criminals. But we are not criminals we are simple people”.
After two hours in the police station the group was again loaded into a black van. They were driven for almost 5 hours, and the member of the group were thrown around in the back of the car as the officers were driving recklessly. When the door of the van was opened there were 9 police officers waiting for them. These officers were wearing black uniforms and balaclavas and they had a big dog. Thus, it is most likely that these officers were members of the Croatian Intervention Police.
“When we arrived, they opened the door, and we could not see them or know their identities. Everybody had a big baton and there was a dog. They told us to come out of the van in line. Outside of the van the 9 police officers were on the two sides. We had to cross in the middle, and they would hit us in the legs, shoulder and back. Then they unleashed the dog. I have a problem with my heart. I told them ‘if you do this, beat me and unleash me the dog my heart can stop’. But they did not care. They did not say anything. Actually, in the whole time they did not say a word.”
After some minutes of beating, everyone in the group was grabbed violently by the clothes and the police officers took all their personal belonging: money, bags, phones, medicines (one of the respondent has a severe heart condition) and even the papers they signed in Slovenia. Then they unleashed the dog and two people, were attacked heavily by the dog. With their arm and legs bleeding they managed to escape the spot, crossing the border back into BiH.