The respondent, a 28 years old man from Afghanistan, left Bihac on the 16th of November to go on “game”, trying and reach the Italian border in order to ask for asylum there. Together with three Moroccan men 20 to 25 years old, they started walking from Bihac at around 6 pm and reached the Croatian border in the evening of the same day. During the night, they managed to hide in the undercarriage of a truck, and held on to it for at least three hours, until they arrived at the Croatian-Slovenian border. The respondent explained that with the temperatures getting colder, it is becoming impossible to go on “game” on foot. Instead, people are taking even more dangerous paths, such as hiding in or under trucks for hours.
After about three hours, the truck arrived in the proximity of the Slovenian-Croatian border – probably at the border checkpoint in Slovenia. There, the police inspected the truck and discovered the transit group that was hanging on the underside of the truck. The respondent states that when the police found them they were already in Slovenia. He related that there were about six or seven police officers who pulled them out of the undercarriage. He remembers them wearing dark blue uniforms with a patch with a lion on it. He identified them as Slovenian border police. After getting the group out, the police officers told the group that they have had “bad luck” and started intimating them to “look down”. At the same time, some of them took their batons and started beating the respondent with them. He recollects that they hit him twice with the stick on his back, and then kicked him several times on his back and hips.
“They beat just me. Two sticks here, and more kicks here, with big shoes”.
The respondent also states that Slovenian police took some pictures of them, without asking for permission. After that, some Croatian police officers arrived at the spot. He was unable to recall the exact number, as he was very scared and looking down, as ordered by the police. The policemen wore uniforms similar to the Slovenian ones: dark blue, but without the lion patch on them. As these officers arrived, the Slovenian officers handed the group over to the Croatian authorities who put the 4 men in the back of a big blue van. The respondent described it as very cold and without windows. The group was then driven for two hours and a half, before reaching a police station in Croatia. There, the respondent and the other men were brought to a room, where they waited for a long time, that the respondent is not able to recall. The police did not ask the group why they had gone to Slovenia and if they wanted to apply for asylum. The respondent explained that he was too scared to express his wish to ask for asylum, fearing punishment.
“I wanted, but they didn’t ask if I wanted to ask for asylum, and I was afraid that they would make problems if I asked for asylum”.
The respondent was not provided with a translator during their stay in the police station. The policemen were speaking to him in English. After the stop at the police station, the group was taken into another dark blue van and driven for about thirty minutes to the Bosnian-Croatian border near Velika Kladuša, BiH somewhere in a forest. Two policemen were driving the van. Once arrived at the location and before pushing them back, the police stole mobile phones and money from the group.
“When they deported me, they took money from me, and my mobile phone. They bring me to Kladuša, they say ‘give me your phone’, they checked me, took money from me, and then told me: ‘Go!’ They said: ‘I have to check you!’, but I said: ‘I have nothing more, just 35 marks and no more!’. They checked anyway, and while they were doing it, I had to take off my jacket”.
After that, the police officers forced them to cross the border into BiH, from where they walked all the night in the freezing cold to return to Bihac where they were staying before.
While he was waiting, downhearted and exhausted, at the police station, the respondent wrote a poem in Urdu on the wall of the white empty room in which he was held in detention. It translates like this:
“Some of my luck was lost to destiny, some of my dreams were broken
The world destroyed something, something of me”.