The group of three left Velika Kladusa (BIH) on February 6, 2019, and crossed the border to Croatia at Bosanska Bojna. From there they walked through Croatia towards Slovenia for eight days. On February 14, at around 1 am, the group was apprehended by several Croatian officers. The three individuals attempted to run away but the officers shot with their handguns towards them, so the group stopped out of fear of being shot. There were three officers, two in a police car and one outside of it. The officers walked towards them, told them to wait and called another car.
As soon as this other car arrived, the group of three was taken to a police station in Jastrebarsko (HRV). There, they got searched, their phones were taken away and the officers asked if they had any money on them. The group responded that they didn’t.
“If the police had found my money, they would have taken it – I know. I hide it.”
The three individuals expressed their intention to claim asylum but the officers denied this request. Instead, they had to sign a paper which asked in Arabic, English and Croatian for their name, surname, name of parents, country of origin, where they were and where they wanted to go. The group members didn’t receive a copy of these papers. After, they had to hold a paper with their personal information in front of them while photos were taken. They got detained for seven hours in a cell and received a small amount of bread to eat, but had to drink out of the cell’s toilet.
Afterwards, they had to enter a large van where already a group of about 20 Syrian people on the move were waiting. They were driven to the Bosnian-Croatian border close to Poljana (BIH) and told to leave the van. Prior to that, the officers returned their phones.
Around 20 officers, all dressed in black and covered with balaclavas stood on one side of the vehicle. One very tall officer walked with the whole group of around 23 people to the border, using a flashlight, and told them to go.
After crossing the border, the initial group of three walked around 13 km back to Velika Kladusa.