“We were very scared, they looked like thieves”

  • Date and time: March 2, 2021 21:00
  • Location: Border crossing near Lohovo
  • Coordinates: 44.73102, 15.916226
  • Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia, Croatia
  • Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 21-23 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, electric shock, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 8 Slovenian police officers and one police man in military uniform (special forces police), two male Croatian police officers and one female police officer in darl blu uniform (granicna policija - border police), 4 Croatian police man in black uniforms with balaclava masks (interventna policija).
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

On 20 February 2021, a group of 6 people on the move left Bosnia, trying the so-called “game” from the Izacic area, and in 8 days they reached Slovenia. The respondent tells that the last three days they walked without food, describing how:

“we were very hungry and one of us went to a city but every shop was close”

At 9 p.m on 1st March 2021, one members of the group went to knock on the door of a house to ask for food, a woman opened the door telling him to wait there, but instead of helping them she called the police.

After about 20 minutes, 8 Slovenian police officers and one officer described as a”commando” – due to the military style uniforms – arrived with three vans. When the police arrived, the group tried to escape on the A1 road, near the town of Prestanek, but the police found them, stopped them, beat them with kicks and punches and transported the group to a police station. The journey from the point of apprehension to the police station took 30 minutes.

Once they arrived at the police station – Policijska postaja ilirska Bistrica, at Vilharjeva cesta 22 – the police officers told them that they could apply for asylum.
The respondent states that he asked the police officers several times to be allowed to go to the bathroom, but this request was denied, as well as the request for food. The police asked them to undress and hand over money and phones. After a search, the respondent stated that they only got back their clothes, while their personal belongings were kept by the police. The group on the move spent the night in a small-close cell, where there was no place to sit. The next morning, 2 March 2021, at 06:00 the respondent and his transit group had to sign three different documents:

Document 1: decision of apprehension: the document underlines that a cultural mediator was present who informed the respondent on the basis of his apprehension – the person is apprehended due to irregular border crossing and that is to be handed to Croatian security forces – and the nature of the document (the respondent claimed that there was not a translator present in the police station).

Document 1: decision of apprehension

  • Document 2: decision that no personal property or documents were taken from the individuals (as the document underlines, the transit group doesn’t have any documents to take, but the respondent claimed that the Slovenian police officers withheld their money and phones).Document 2: decision that no personal property were taken

 

  • Document 3: 500 euros fine for irregular crossing border.

After signing the documents, the same police officers as on the previous day loaded them into a van and took them along the border to Croatia, to the checkpoint in Rupa border crossing – Granicni prijelaz Rupa (45.488114,14.278569). It was 10 am and at the border there were Croatian police – 2 male police officers and one woman police officer with batons, according to the description of the respondent it could be the Granicna policija HR (Croatian Border Police) – to which the respondent urgently asked to go to the toilet, but the police officer answered “you are not allowed to go to the toilet”. After a few minutes, the Croatian police told them that they could go to the toilet and ordered them to line up, but instead of allowing them to use the toilet, they gave them electric shocks one by one.

After that, the police ordered the group in transit to get into a van where they spent most of the day. Again, having been fasting for five days, the group asked the Croatian police for food, a request which was denied.

At 5 pm, they left the Slovenian-Croatian border to be transported along the Bosnian border where they arrived at 9 pm. The respondent states that transporting them to the Bosnian border were 4 police man with black uniform and black balaclava and two white vans:

“we were very scared, they looked like thieves. “

The respondent claimed that the Croatian police drove fast and then braked suddenly and that the ventilation inside the car was on and it was very hot, that the whole group vomited on the way. The respondent claimed that in the car Croatian police said to them:

“You are a terrorist, you are Taliban, why you come here?”.

At about 9 pm, along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the area of Lohovo, the 4 police officers told the transiting group to line up and shouted:

“go, go to Bosnia”