The respondents in this case, a group of 22 people aged 17,17, 20-28 from Pakistan and Kashmir, were walking in the jungle near the Slovenian-Hungarian border (approximate coordinates 46.282474, 16.172375, HR), when the Croatian police stopped them, at around 5:00 in the morning on the 27th of July 2020.
When they saw the police, the respondents tried to run away but the officers fired five or six shots in the air, scaring the group-members into stopping
“We were afraid”, says the respondent.
According to the given description, the officers were four males wearing light blue uniforms with the Croatian emblem and the writing “police”, armed with guns and batons and with protection masks on their faces. One police car and one police van were also there. As the respondent refers, the police officers spoke Croatian between each other and used English to communicate with the group on the move, also addressing them with “bad words”.
The respondents were pushed to the ground and were obliged to sit with their hands up in the air and the head down. In that position, police beat them on their back using batons and also kicked them. Afterwards, the officers ordered to the group to “put the phones in a plastic bag”, which they later put in the police car. Then, police burnt their backpacks with the whole contents.
“I don’t know what happened to the phones”, says the respondent.
None of the respondent asked for asylum, because they feared that the officer could use other violence on them.
“Maybe they beat us again”, says the respondent.
The group on the move waited a long time in that place, four or five hours according to the respondent. Then, the group was forced to enter into the police van, which only had a very small, closed, window. As the respondent refers, all the fans at the back of the van were closed, so that the air became soon extremely hot. The respondents needed to drink but were too scared to ask for it to the officers.
According to what the respondent perceived, the van travelled for around three hours. The officers often stopped the van and, at certain points, they drove recklessly.
“They drive fifteen or twenty minutes and after they stop, drive ten minutes after stop, they do this many times”.
Once arrived at the border (approximate location 45.232111, 15.988620, HR), the group waited many hours until another police car arrived, with one male and one female police officers wearing light blue uniforms and having batons with them. So, a total number of six officers was at the border when the pushback took place.
The group of respondents was beat again with the batons and the pushed back to Bosnia Herzegovina, around midnight on the 27th of July 2020.
“There are two big cement blocks near the border, they speak us ‘cross them and go Bosnia’”, says the respondent.
From there, the group reached the city of Vrnograc (BiH) around 5:00 in the morning on the 28th of July 2020, and then returned to Velika Kladusa (BiH), walking for around seven hours.