The group of seven, two Algerians and five Moroccans, all male, went on game from Velika Kladusa (BIH). After walking through Croatia for 10 days, they arrived close to the Slovenian border. On March 11, 2019, around 5 pm, they entered Slovenia. Near the border there is a river that they had to cross.
When the 19-year-old Moroccan tried to cross it, he was carried away by the river. He couldn’t get out anymore and drowned in front of his friend’s eyes without them being able to help him.
Shocked by the incident, they nevertheless decided to continue walking. When they were walking on a road, a citizen spotted them. Shortly after, around 9.00 pm, two Slovenian officers, a man and a woman, both in green uniforms and carrying big guns, stopped them. The officers pointed with their guns at them and told them to get down on their knees. Then, they made a call and soon after, two other officers in blue uniforms arrived.
The officers asked them with how many people they were traveling.
“We said we are six people.”
But the officers didn’t believe that they were only a group of six. So the people on the move told them of the tragic death of their friend. However, the officers didn’t want to listen to this and refused to go to the spot where their friend had died. During the argument another officer arrived who told the group to show him where they entered the Slovenian border. They had to enter a police van and were driven to the point where they entered Slovenia. Here one of them had to get off the van.
“The police take a photo of him in the border.”
Afterwards he had to enter the van once more and the group were driven to the police station in Kočevje (SVN).
Inside the police station they had to stay in a big room with two toilets and were handed out blankets. There was one male officer working on a computer and one female officer dealing with papers. In addition, two officers were responsible to observing the people on the move.
They requested asylum, but one officer answered:
“Why don’t you make asylum in Bosnia?”
One by one they brought them out of the big room to take a portrait photo, fingerprints and information on how they moved from Bosnia to Slovenia. During the interviews with the police there was no official translator present. Instead, one of the individuals who spoke English was told to translate for the others. After the interviews which took place from 10 pm till 2 am, the individuals were given five papers that said that they had to pay a penalty fee of €500 for illegally crossing the border. They were forced to sign the papers, which were all written in Slovenian. Afterwards the papers were taken back from the police. Then, they spent the rest of the night in the police station.
“They gave us food and also water.”
Around 8 to 9 am, the officers told them to enter a car one by one. They were brought to the official Croatian border. Here they were handed over to the Croatian authorities, who also took photos with their names on it.
They had to switch to another Croatian police van. Only one of the officers present was wearing a uniform, the others were dressed in civilian clothes. Then they were brought to another police station in Croatia, where they had to wait inside the van. After around 40 minutes, another group of people on the move, six individuals from Pakistan, entered the van.
Then, they left to yet the third Croatian police station, where they had to wait inside the van for about 15 minutes. Finally, they were brought to the Bosnian border and deported into the Bosnian woods. Seven male officers were present, all wearing blue uniforms and carrying weapons. One by one they were allowed to get off the van. The officers gave them a bag with all the phones and power banks that were previously taken from them by the Slovenian police. Then the police told them to go by Bosnia: