The respondent was a 26 years old man from Iran. At midday (12 am) of the 29th of January, the transit group of three men from Iran (21, 26, 36) started walking in the region of Boina, Una Sana, near the Bosnian-Croatian border. After three and a half hours of walking through a forested territory, they were apprehended at 3.30 pm near the small town of Glina, Croatia. Four white vans stopped next to the three and 14 people in dark blue (the respondent pointed to an object and sayed “just like that“) uniforms got out. The transit group was shouted at to get on the ground: “Get down, down, down!“.
After the three knelt on the ground, they were patted down all over their bodies and had to hand over all the objects they were carrying: “Give me your mobile, flashlight, money, everything”. The respondent stated, that he asked for asylum in this situation: “Please write message to police station, I stay here.“.
He reported that they were asked to get into one of the vans. The transit group then drove for what felt to the respondent like two hours and he described that it became very cold in the vehicle, because the air conditioning was on, despite the low temperatures outside.
Following the logic of the times given by the respondent, they reached the pushback location at six pm. The respondent estimated that there were about 20 police officers in dark uniforms and several police cars (4, 5, or 6) of different sizes at the location. Due to the very bright flashlight, the respondent could not give any information about the exact number. Due to his knowledge of earlier transit tries the respondent was able to locate the actual pushback site on the map: 45.212296, 15.929116.
They were ordered to take off their jackets, jumpers, and shoes and to unpack the contents of their backpacks by a female police officer, whom the interviewee described as “very angry woman, very angry“. Then the policewoman and another policeman searched the contents of the backpacks and threw everything into a pile. Food that had been in the backpacks was kicked through the area. A friend of the respondent was asked twice to provide his mobile phone pin: “two time speak, ‘Give me Pin, give me Pin‘ but he don’t know the Pin, he always use fingerprint before”.
The respondent tried to get back his shaving machine, which he had got short time before, he asked to keep only that and his phone: “Please give me phonbe, I have pictures inside, picture my mum, picture my dad, please“. He stated that the policeman laughed at him and shouted: “Shut up, go, go, back inside“. Before returning to the van the transit group was forced to watch how the female police officer burned the pile with all their belongings. The only thing they could keep were the backpacks and sleeping bags.
The respondent testified that the three then got back into the vehicle and drove again for only a couple 100 meters. He believes that they were driven across the border.
The respondent stated that after he got out of the van, another officer, without uniform, in civil clothes was present. He suspected that it was a higher-ranking police officer (“a general, you know”) because of the way he had spoken to the other police officers. The transit group was ordered to return to Bosnia quickly: “Go, go to Bosnia, never come back!“. The respondent’s friend put his backpack on more slowly than the others and therefore was kicked in the lower back by the policeman, who was described as a general. As the respondent also stopped to wait for his friend, he was hit by the uniformed police officer (who was also driving the van) with the fist on his shoulder. He reported that the three then started running as fast as they could in the direction indicated by the police officers.
The respondent then described walking through the forest quickly and rushing. He related the feeling of being rushed to his fear of the police during this pushback. The respondent stated that they afterward walked for two to three hours without being able to see something in the dark forest territory because the police officers had also taken their flashlights and because during the time at the pushback-side they were blinded by the flashlights used by the police.
As the place where the transit group had slept before is far outside (in Boina, a region near the border to Croatia), they went through a lot of cold and hunger the night they arrived there and had no possibility to ask for help.