“"I told them give us a chance, they didn't say anything"”

  • Date and time: February 16, 2020 01:30
  • Location: Veliki Obljaj
  • Coordinates: 45.21795557216758, 16.003518616673368
  • Push-back from: Slovenia, Croatia
  • Push-back to: Croatia, Bosnia
  • Demographics: 9 person(s), age: 22+ , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 6/7 Slovenian police officers, 1 Slovenian police car, unknown number of Croatian police officers, 2 Croatian police vans
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, Balkan Info Van

Original Report

The respondent, an Afghani male aged 22, was travelling with a transit group of 25 people in the Croatian interior. He separated from the group with one other person (Afghan male 18+), and on Saturday 15th February 2020 attempted to cross the border with Slovenia via train heading to Ljubljana. Shortly into Slovenian territory the carriages were stopped in a small station, this occurred at approximately 13:00/14:00. The train was boarded by the Slovenian police who began asking for passports and documents from the passengers.

The respondent stated that there were six/seven officers present. When the officers came to their seats the officers asked:

“Do you have documents?”

The respondent and his companion replied:

“No we don’t”

The police officers removed the two transit persons from the train and walked them a short distance to a “container” by the side of the tracks. The respondent addressed the officers directly asking for the opportunity to lodge a claim for asylum.

“I told them give us a chance, they didn’t say anything”

The police ignored the request and first made a pat down search of the men and confiscated their phones. Then the officers made the two men fill in forms with their names and sign them. The officers also took the men’s pictures. The whole process was completed very quickly according to the respondent, and the two men were then loaded into a Slovenian police vehicle and driven for approximately 20 minutes.

They were unloaded at a small border crossing with Croatia. The Slovenian police handed the pair in transit over to the Croatian authorities, and gave the men’s telephones to the officers.. The respondent recalls seeing many officers present at the border crossing in “police uniform”, and was unable to describe the full number. The respondent states that the Croatian police did not carry out any processing themselves but led the men into a container where they were detained until until around 21:00/22:00.

The pair were loaded in the dark into a Croatian police van. Inside the rear part of the van was one other detained person that the respondent described  “Arabic”. The three detainees were driven away from the border station. Someway through the journey to the border the van stopped and they were removed from the back and put into another van containing seven detained Pakistani males. The “Arabic” man was told to remain inside the first van. After this exchange, the respondent was transported on towards the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The van arrived at the border in an area east of Velika Kladusa in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 16th February 2020 at approximately 01:30. The transit group, now nine in total including the merged Pakistani group, were taken out of the van. Three officers were present, and were new officials who had come in the vehicle they’d been transferred into. The respondent received his phone back from the officers, then the transit group were ordered back into BiH.

The respondent walking for sometime, until finding the village of Vrnograc (BiH) and signposting that directed them to the Velika Kladusa where they could get a bus back to Bihac.