A transit group of ten started their journey from Velika Kladusa (BiH) in late June 2018. They crossed Croatia and managed to cross the Slovenian border without being detected. On their eighth day of walking, however, they were apprehended by the authorities in a Slovenian village. It was July 4th around 4 a.m. After they had been taken to a police station, they said that they want to apply for asylum in Slovenia. However, the policemen refused to start an asylum procedure, saying that Slovenia was full of migrants and they could allegedly not apply for asylum there.
“I asked Croatian police, you [let] stay so many people, why you don’t let stay me here? [I was] almost 10 days walking here. You let stay somebody, but not me, what is this? Always police catch me and send back. This is not fair.”
In the police station, the officers asked the group members about their age, nationality, and how they reached Slovenia. One group member told the police that he was 16 years old, but reportedly saw that a police officer instead simply wrote down that he was 18 years old, thus wrongly registering him as being of full age.
The respondent was having stomachache throughout the whole time of their detention because he had not eaten and drunk properly for 8 days. When he asked the police to provide him medical help, the police ignored his request and instead locked him into a cell without any food and water for 24 hours.
On July 5th, the group was taken into a police van. According to the respondent, the driver of the van was driving very fast and aggressively for about three hours and everyone was falling from one side to another:
“It was very small van and no air. He was driving very dangerously, and people were vomiting. I asked, please, stop the car, stop the van. But nobody listened”.
After three hours of driving, the van reached the Slovenian-Croatian border. The Slovenian authorities handed the group over to the Croatian authorities who directly transported them further to the Croatian-Bosnian border.
At the Croatian-Bosnian border, the group members were told to get off the van. The respondent reported that the Croatian police officers then took 170 Euros from them and broke their phones. When the respondent politely asked the police to give them back their money, the police only said: “Go back!”
The following picture shows some of the group’s broken phones:
The group thus crossed the border back into Bosnia and Herzegovina and started walking towards Velika Kladusa. After a while, they were stopped by the Bosnian police who helped them by transporting them back to Velika Kladusa and to reach the medical help in the local hospital.
The respondent stated that this was already the fifth time that he had been pushed back to Bosnia:
“If you go to Croatia and you get caught, they directly deport you. They don’t give you water, no food. If you die, no problem police. … But I need to go go go again. No problem, I try again”.