The group of seven crossed the border to Croatia at a spot near Velika Kladusa. They walked for three days through Croatia. On February 25, they were five kilometers away from the Slovenian border, in the town of Rosopajnik (HRV). At around 2 am, the group took a rest in a forest and decided to sleep for a while. At 7 am, they suddenly woke up from the sound of shots, fired in the air by five Croatian officers. The officers started to kick them with their boots, which left visible marks on the respondent’s hands and face. The officers shouted at the group in a language they didn’t understand, probably Croatian.
When asked if they had requested asylum, the respondent answered.
“No, no way, we ask for asylum, they will beat us too much like dogs”.
When asked if they tried to talk to the officers in English, the respondent explained that he pretended not to know English. He was scared, the officers would otherwise think that he was a smuggler and beat him up even more.
“[They] will beat you too much.”
He showed a photo of his broken finger from the last time he attempted to translate when he encountered the authorities.
The seven of them had to wait at the spot around one hour until a large vehicle arrived. They had to enter it and were driven for approximately one hour to the Bosnian border. When they arrived, five officers were already waiting for them, lining themselves up on both sides of the van’s doors. One of the officers, who was driving the van was quite big and all wore dark navy blue uniforms and had their faces and heads uncovered.
As the seven individuals got off the vehicle, they were beaten with batons. The respondent jumped out in the middle of the seven of them and could therefore avoid being beaten. He managed to ran fast over the border and escapee the officers.
The phones, money and cigarettes were initially taken from the group. At the border, then their phones were returned in a bag. First, they were glad to see that none of them got destroyed, however they soon discovered that the SIM cards and charging inputs were damaged and useless. The respondent said, already ten phones got destroyed within the eight months he was going on game repeatedly.
Rosopajnik (Hr) – Approximate location of the spot where the group was caught by Croatian authorities
The approximate area in Gejkovac (Hr) where the group was pushed-back by Croatian officers