“He was asked for his age and was slapped every time he gave the answer '16'”

  • Date and time: November 14, 2020 16:00
  • Location: Pljesevica mountain near Bihac, Bosnia
  • Coordinates: 44.779803752061, 15.799899949219
  • Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 12 person(s), age: 15, 16 years old, partly unknown , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, threatening with guns, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving, denial of appropriate sleeping equipement during night detention, withholding of sanitary facilities
  • Police involved: 4 officers (3 male, 1 female) in Slovenia, 4-5 officers in dark blue uniforms and green ski masks in Croatia, 4-5 officers in black clothes and black ski masks in Croatia
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of night equipment (bed, blanket etc.)
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent is a 16-year-old Afghani citizen. He is not accompanied by his parents, but his 18-year-old brother is with him. He started in Bosnia in a group of 8 Afghani citizens on November 12th. They crossed Croatia in a private car, which took around four hours. All members had to leave the car in close distance to the border between Croatia and Slovenia, in order to cross by foot. The respondent cannot give an exact location of crossing as he only saw forest and few houses.

On the Slovenian side of the border, the respondent found a car waiting for a 4-person group. A second car did not show up, so the group split. The driver told them to crawl on the floor of the car. After only 10 minutes of driving on Slovenian territory, the car was stopped by officers on a small road. By the time, it was around 5 or 6 o’clock in the afternoon and it was dark. The respondent could not see anything at first, as he was still down in the car. However, the officers stopped the car in the middle of the road, not on a parking lot, and told the driver to get out. From moans and screams, the respondent can say with certainty that the driver was beaten by the officers outside of the car.

Next, the respondent and the other group members were told to get out of the car. The respondent saw two white police vans with “Policija” label. He saw four officers (three male, one female). The officers checked the pockets of every person but did not find any valuables. The members were asked for their nationality and accused of being possibly infected by Covid 19. Following this, they had to get in one of the police vans and were driven for around five minutes. They could not see anything, as there was no window. They arrived at the police station, but the respondent could not see the building  from the outside, as the car went straight inside the building before an officer opened the door.

The respondent and the other three members were taken into a room. They were given documents and had to fill in their first names, family names, their nationality, and age. The document was in English language. The respondent wrote that he was 16 years old.  When the officer saw this information, he slapped the respondent in the face and another time with the fist in his chest. Three times, the respondent was asked for his age and was slapped every time he gave the answer “16”. By the third time, the respondent said “18” and he was let go. The age in the document was altered from 16 to 18. The officers took photos of each person, as well as their fingerprints. Every person had to give his backpack and his shoelaces, but they did not have to give any clothes or their mobile phones.

The group was given one blanket to spend the night. The room did not have any bed or sleeping place. It only contained one bench. The respondent was given macaroni to eat, and water. He states that going to the toilet was a “big problem”. When he asked to go to the toilet, he was told to “wait” multiple times, and only much later he was allowed to go. They were taken out of the room not before 9 o’clock the next morning.

The next morning, the group was taken to another room where they stayed for another full day and a second night. The respondent could ask to go to the toilet and received three meals, in the morning, the afternoon and the evening respectively. He did not have the opportunity to wash himself.

On the following day, November 14, the group was given five documents each that the respondent calls “deport papers”. They were in a foreign language, the respondent believes it to be Slovenian, and he could not understand the meaning of the text. He was told to sign the documents: “You need to sign”, and the respondent did so. At around 8 o’clock in the morning, they were taken to the Croatian border by car. At this point, people from other groups joined them, so the group was made up of around 12 people altogether. It consisted of Afghani and Pakistani citizens, including two to three young women.

After a short ride, the group was let out of the van on an asphalt road. The respondent did not see any building or institution that might belong to a border control station. Four or five male Croatian officers that wore dark blue uniforms and green ski masks awaited them. The respondent had to give his name and the officers took a photo of each group member. After that, he was taken into a white van with “Policija” label. The respondent still had a watch at this point, and he states that the ride took seven to eight hours, with only few short breaks of around five minutes. The doors of the van were not opened during these breaks. The respondent describes a lack of oxygen in the car, no light, and he claims that people had to vomit. The people were not given any water or food, or the opportunity to go to the toilet.

When they were let out, four to five different officers awaited them, wearing black clothes and black ski masks. According to the respondent, this was at about 4:00 in the evening, it was almost dark. The respondent had to leave the car and one of the officers told each person to put their clothes on the ground. They were speaking English. Every group member had to leave their jackets, jumpers, telephones, and other belongings. The respondent did not see what happened to the belongings. Every person was hit with batons multiple times on the back and on the arms by the officers. Next, one officer fired a gun to the sky once and told everyone to “run, run, run”. The group found itself on a small dirt road and walked in the direction of Bosnia. They could not identify any border or border control, but after what felt like six hours, they arrived in Bihac between 9 and 10 o’clock at night.