The group of eight men from Yemen crossed by foot from Bosnia to Croatia on the night of December 13, 2018, leaving from a spot close to Velika Kladuša. From there, they walked for three days through Croatia before reaching a point where they were picked up by a car and driven towards Slovenia in the morning. Shortly after entering this car, they were stopped by two Croatian officers who took them out of the car. They had to wait until a van arrived which drove them in a 30-minute drive to a police station.
The police station had a glass entrance door, followed by a hallway. The group was led down the stairs to a room in the basement where they had to sit down on the floor. They stayed there during their whole time in the police station. At the station, the officers made them sign a paper that none of the eight could understand as it was written in Croatian. At one point he asked one officer for asylum who seemed to be the head officer for asylum in Croatia according to the respondent. The officer replied:
“Are you a doctor? Are you a doctor? I take you. [If you are] not a doctor, I can’t take you”
There was a translator present for some time who translated from Arabic to Croatian. He was described as an elderly man from Sudan, around 65 years old, with white, balding hair and dark black skin.
The group had to stay in the room from the morning until the late evening.
“And they take us in the night because they want to beat us”
They left at 9 pm in a white van with a blue stripe on the side. After being driven for around 25 minutes, followed by two other police cars, they arrived at a second police station. From there, the group of eight was driven for 30 minutes to the Bosnian-Croatian border where they arrived at around 10 pm. All of them had to get off the van and was surrounded by a group of nine Croatian officers wearing black balaclavas and black uniforms.
“We are eight and the police nine.”
After they left the car, the officers started to punch and hit them with batons as the respondent asserted. Afterwards they were told to walk around 70 meters to the border, marked by a stream with waist-high water. The officers walked with them, hitting them to keep the eight of them together. With beats, they directed the group of eight towards the stream and began forcing them into the cold water. Several of the officers picked up ice and snow from the ground and threw it at the individuals while they were walking.
“[They] take the ice and throw”
First, the respondent hesitated to enter the water and was therefore struck down to the ground by the strike of a baton. When he fell on the ground, he received a kick to his torso which made his head crash down into a broken tree branch. The branch tore into his right eyelid, leaving him with an open wound.
“Hit me [into] wood.”
After the officers saw the man screaming because of his eye, they continued to hit him and pushed him into the stream:
“Go! Go! Don’t come back to Croatia!”
When he entered the stream, the officers threw pieces of ice at his back. They then took the eight phones, ten power banks and €150 which the group of eight was carrying with them.
After they entered Bosnia again, the eight of them walked around five kilometers back through the snow to the Miral camp with their clothes and shoes soaked through from the water of the stream.