The respondent traveled together with nine other men by foot from Velika Kladusa (BIH) to Croatia. They were walking through a Croatian forest, west of the town of Petrova Gora, at around midnight on November 5, 2018, when they were detected by five Croatian officers. They were dressed in black clothes, wore balaclavas. When they saw the group of ten, they started shouting at them to stop and shot their guns. The respondent didn’t see if they were pointing at them or in the air when shooting.
“I don’t see if they shoot air or us. I just scare.”
The officers then called for backup and shortly after two vans arrived. As the respondent speaks basic English, he understood the officers asking him for his name and nationality. The officers then body searched all the group and found all their phones, as well as their money and power banks. They never returned any of these and destroyed the phones. The respondent articulated his wish to access the asylum procedure in Croatia:
“I need asylum in Croatia.”
He had hoped that he could access legal assistance in Croatia. But when he tried to speak out, the officers only told him to be silent.
They were then transported in one van for around one hour to the Bosnian border without being taken to a police station or given access to legal assistance and asylum procedures.
”There was no oxygen and car was driving fast and I was vomiting.”
After arriving at the border around 1.30 am, about 15 km from Velika Kladusa (BIH), they were tired and feeling sick from the fast drive with lack of oxygen. One officer opened the door of the van and told the ten of them to exit one by one. Outside, they could see officers in black clothes and balaclavas waiting for them. Each of them, was then physically attacked by those while running back to Bosnia.
“At the border, they were shouting at us: ‘Go, go, go, go!’ and beating us with batons. Open car and one by one, pa pa pa pa with baton. I fell and broke my leg.”
The respondent’s friends then helped him to walk back 15 km with his broken leg to Velika Kladuša (BIH). Also the respondent’s friend got injuries from the physical attack, having pain in his shoulder and legs.