The respondent travelled in a group of eight (including people from Morocco, Egypt and Algeria). They left Velika Kladusa (BiH) on the 28th January 2020. The group members were all male and aged between 16 and 32 years old (including two minors).
After five days walking – having crossed the Bosnian/Croatian border – the transit group were near Gornji Ostrc (HR), approximately 4 km away from the Slovenian border. When the group passed between two villages, they were approached from either side by a pair of officers. This apprehension occured at 15:00 on 2nd February 2020.
The two male officers wore dark blue uniforms and caught five group members, three being able to avoid apprehension. All five detained people asked for asylum, which was denied by the authorities. Power banks, phones, money and the passports of the group members were taken. Two group members, one of them a minor, were heavily hit with batons. According to the respondent the minor allegedly suffered a severe injury to his leg from this incident. The officers continued to attack the group by pushing them onto the ground and then kicking them in the ribs. The respondent recalled how one officer punched a group member in the mouth with the fist. The person who received this blow suffered oral pain and their teeth allegedly turned black afterwards, suggesting severe decay from the impact.
The transit group was taken in a van to a police station in Croatia where they stayed for approximately two hours. According to the respondent it was very cold in the police station. The officers denied the respondent and the group water, food and medical support. There was no translator present. The respondent remembers 16 male officers and one female officer at the police station.
At approximately 17:00 all group members were taken into a van by three male officers and one female officer wearing black uniforms and ski masks. The group were driven for some time, before being unloaded in the evening at a location where a river runs along the Bosnian-Croatian border.
“If you looked into their eyes, they would beat you and hit you with electricity shocks.”
According to the respondent the group were ordered to look to the ground by the officers at the border. When a group member looked into the eyes of an officer, they were either beaten with a baton or hit with an electric shock administered from a taser device. The officers took away the transit groups sleeping bags and backpacks and burnt them in front of the respondent and the other group members. The group members were forced to undress while pistols were pointed at them. They told the group members not to come back to Croatia. The officers forced the group members to walk into the river and swim to the other side to Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were not asked if everybody knew how to swim. The officers shot into the river while the group was crossing.