The respondent left from Bihać on April 20th with a group of nine other young men from Afghanistan. It was rainy and the pathway was quite muddy and the group walked slower than they had originally planned. After four days of walking, near Jezerane (HR), the respondent slipped and broke his foot. The group decided to leave him behind as a result of this injury since he could no longer keep the pace.
The respondent kept walking alone, albeit at a slower pace, lost in the mountain since his phone’s battery had finished. After five days, his food had finished and he continued the journey without it for 4 or 5 more days.
“I think it was 10 days that I was in the mountains and from the sun and everything I found North, and I went to North, just North.”
Around this time, the respondent described encountering a bear in the forest. While attempting to avoid the animal, he approached a village in which he encountered a man and inquired as to where he was. The man responded the he was in Slovenia and communicated to him that he should continue.
They said here is Slovenia, if you want go, go this way, this way is Italy, go don’t stay here’
At this time, with his broken foot and his hunger, the respondent did not have the ability to walk anymore. Therefore, he decided to ask the man to call the police. Some time later, two police officers – a man and a woman – arrived to the location and apprehended him.
The respondent recalled being forcefully asked by the officers as to the route which he had taken into the country.
“They captured me and they beat me and [asked] ‘Where you come to Slovenia? from which point you come to Slovenia? Who give you this point? and I said I don’t know I’m here. They brought me near the river [and told me] ‘You came from this point’ I said no, I didn’t come from here.’
The officers took a photo of him at this location, justifying that because he came from there a picture must be taken.
After this picture was taken, the respondent described being taken to an office which he believed was a “UN building”. The man recalled that he was not answered after asking for the location of this building. While at this location, he described asking for asylum, claiming that his wife and child are currently living in Germany. An interrogation was conducted at this location, with the use of a translator. His name, nationality and age were asked in addition to where he had come from and how had he reached Slovenia. The interviewee believed that he was kept in this location for 7 hours.
He then described being taken by two policemen to a police station, approximately two hours away, where he stayed overnight. He was provided food in this location.
In the morning, he was transferred to yet another police station which had four or five Slovenian officers who were described as wearing military-style uniforms. This station was a one hour drive away from the previous one. He was placed in a dark room with no windows and kept there for 10 or 12 hours until night time, not being given any food. Photos and fingerprints were taken again and his signature was demanded.
“I asked about asylum, where I should go and in this point they said ‘you should go to Croatia’.”
“I said I want to stay here as a refugee but they said ‘We don’t need you, we don’t want you to stay here’.”
In the evening, he was brought to a police van with four officers, where he was held with nine Pakistani men (referred to in a separate report), they were driven for one hour and then moved into another vehicle, where they were joined with two Afghan men (also referred in a separate report).
‘The van was dark and without windows and we asked to the police where we were, they didn’t answer us and beat us when we ask and for every change they beat, every change of car they beat.’
The respondent described having no knowledge about their location at any point of the way.
‘They didn’t answer us. I know they capture me in Slovenia because they showed me a map and said they captured me there, after that I don’t know anything, I don’t know where they bring me’
The group described being beaten with the use of batons while being transferred to another vehicle. Two of the officers also hit the group (now twelve men) after they asked about their location. The men were left, after another two hours of driving, at the Bosnian-Croatian border at around 3:00 am on May 6th, near Velika Kladuša. They walked back to the city all together. Most of the men presented severe injuries.