On the 30th November 2019, the respondent and his friend left Velika Kladusa (BiH) and walked through Croatia for five days before being caught by police. The respondents were in a vehicle driving along the D41 highway when police pulled the car over at 10:00 in the morning on 4th December 2019.
The car was travelling through Reka (HR) – a small town – and it is assumed that the car was stopped near this location: 46.113248, 16.7190801. Three male Croatian police officers in black uniforms took the respondents in one white Croatian police van to a police station near Lepavina (HR). They drove around for three hours before stopping at the police station (arriving around 13:00), it is suggested by the respondents indications that the station was here: 6JWF+94 Ludbreg, Croatia. The respondent said that the route they took did not make sense. Explaining the journey he said:
“ce n’était pas direct / it was not direct”.
At the police station, the police officers took the respondents fingerprints and photo of them holding their names on sheets of paper. The respondents asked the police for ‘asyl’ but the police said:
“no no no, no asly, go Bosnia”
The respondents were denied access to food and water. There was a toilet in their cell which they could use. In the room, there were five more people – three Bangladeshis, and two Pakistani males. There was also another cell next door, with four people inside. The transit group spent ten hours in the police station.
At 22:00, three male Croatian police officers in navy blue uniform and two male officers in black uniform and ski masks transferred the respondent and ten others in two white Croatian police vans to the border. The drive took two/three hours and involved erratic driving like swerving and slamming on the breaks. Some members of the group became sick and vomited in the van. It is suggested that the group was driven nearby to this location: 45.1956712, 15.7936306. This location was identified because the respondents could see a recognisable mosque near Velika Kladusa, and could tell their location was close to the Maljevac border crossing (official BCP between HR/BiH):
At the location, the masked officers dressed in black forced the respondent and his group to throw their clothes (everything except their underwear and t-shirt), some shoes (not everyone), backpacks, telephones and power-banks into one spot – and then poured gasoline over everything and set it on fire. If the phone or power-bank was good quality the officers stole it, if not, they burnt it.
The officers also stole €120 from the respondent. One-by-one the group in transit was forced to get out of the car and walk past the masked officers (described as “kagul”), who then spent five minutes beating each individual with their fists, batons, and by kicking them. The officers fired two gunshots into the air and screamed:
“go Kladusa, go Kladusa, GO GO GO”
The respondent was able to get away quickly because he still had shoes on, but some members of the group had their shoes burned in the fire. It took 15 minutes for the respondent to walk back into Velika Kladusa (corrobrating the pinned location suggested as the pushback site. The group arrived at roughly 02:00 on 5th December 2019.