A group of people walked from Šid Serbia across the Serbian-Croatian border and continued walking West for 10 days. Just before reaching Zagreb they stayed with a friend and asked him if they could get help with registering for entering asylum procedures at the Zagreb UNHCR office. The friend warned them not to go there, because the place is surrounded by police. The men hadn’t had food or anything to drink for 3 days, so they asked some locals. The locals denied their request and threatened to beat them with stick and to let their dogs attack them.
As they were feeling scared and insecure, the men tried to go to the UNHCR office, but didn’t manage as they were caught by 6 police officers, on November 14th. 2017, at about at 4pm. They searched their bodies and belongings, asked for their documents, and broke their phones. The men expressed their intention to seek asylum, so the police transported them in a closed police van (they couldn’t see where they were going) for about 1-2 hours, to a police station in a Croatian town.
At the station they confirmed their intention to seek asylum, and they were one by one interrogated in separate room. The police once again searched their bodies and belongings. The men had no money but their one remaining phone was confiscated. They were asked to fill out their personal details on a form. The two minors were threatened with beatings, if they did not falsify their birthdate to indicate that they were over 18 years old, and the police explained straightforwardly that this was the only way they could deport them. The police took photos but not fingerprints. No registration for asylum applications were done and no written documents were given to the men.
The youngest man had pain in his leg, but the police threatened to beat him if he couldn’t walk faster. After about 2 hours the police declared that their superior had decided that the men should be deported back to Serbia. 4-6 police officers transported them in a closed police van (the men didn’t know where they drove), for about one hour to a deportation place at the Serbian-Croatian border, near train rails between Tovarnik, Croatia and Sid, Serbia. They arrived there on the 14th. at about 12pm. The police let the men out of the van and ordered them to “go back to Serbia“, so the men ran to the Serbian side and travelled back to Sid Serbia.