“l was wet everywhere, and l felt very cold but the policeman said, ‘l don’t care’”

  • Date and time: December 3, 2018 23:00
  • Location: Maljevac, Croatia, between Maljevac and Buhača, at the border near Velika Kladuša
  • Coordinates: 45.1915532611543, 15.784667900524937
  • Pushback from: Slovenia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia, Croatia
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 28 , from: Algeria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 2 Slovenian officers in green uniforms, 2 officers in dark blue uniforms, 1 white van. 5 Croatian officers in black uniforms, black ski masks
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent left Velika Kladuša (BIH) by foot. At the border, he had to avoid barbed wire and had to cross a river by swimming through it. Once he reached Croatia, he took a taxi to the Slovenian border. He crossed the border, but the taxi driver drove too fast, overtaking other cars on the road, which attracted the authorities’ attention, and they apprehended them by car. The officers forced the taxi driver to stop his car on the right side of the road and aimed their weapons at them. There were two officers in the car wearing what the respondent described as green military uniforms, and two other officers wearing dark blue uniforms.

Afterwards, the respondent was handcuffed. The officer asked for the passports of both of them, but the respondent didn’t have one. The officers also asked them what they were doing together. After staying around 15 minutes on the edge of the road, they were driven to the police station in Brežice (SVN) in a white van with a windowless backspace (as described by respondent).

l was wet everywhere, and l felt very cold but the policeman said, ‘l don’t care’, l went to a small cell and after one hour they came to do a frisk. Then l went to a big cell and l went to sleep. There was only one concrete bed with a mattress in the room”

The day after, a Palestinian translator arrived to talk to them. He asked questions about the journey, the taxi, how much money he had paid and how he came to Slovenia. When the respondent asked to claim asylum, the translator answered:

No, no, why asylum?”

He signed several papers and was kept in the station until approximately 9 am. From the police station, he was driven to a border police station. After signing further papers on the Slovenian side, he was transferred to Croatian authorities.

He stayed for ten hours at a Croatian border police station. During this time, he asked for food and water, but was denied both. He also asked to change his clothes which were still wet, but this was also refused.

Eventually, he was brought to a police van. The driver drove fast and the respondent was falling from one side to the other. There was no window in the backspace which made it impossible for him to orientate himself. They switched the cold ventilation on inside the van and the respondent in his wet clothes was very cold.

Around 11 pm, they arrived at the Bosnian−Croatian border, where five officers in black balaclavas and black uniforms were waiting. Two officers threw the respondent out of the van. He asked to be handled with care, explaining that he had a previous tear in one of his ligaments and a herniated disc which still was aching. When he showed his knee, he was told:

No, fuck off!”

They were asking:

Where is the problem, where is the problem?”

Then, they beat him with a baton exactly on his injuries. He couldn’t walk for a while due to the pain in his leg, and some officers then pulled him away into the mud.

When he managed to leave, he lost his shoes in the mud. He walked back to Velika Kladuša wearing only socks in −1˚C.

The officers gave him his destroyed phone back at the border but didn’t return the €70 they had taken from him at the police station in Slovenia.