The group of seven, including one 17-year-old minor, had been walking through the Croatian countryside for ten days before they were seized by the authorities in the north of the country. By that time, they had been following the road number 71 and had almost reached the border river Kolpa and the town of Vinica (HRV) at the Croatian-Slovenian border.
Late evening of November 6, 2018, while walking near the southern bank on a small tarmac road, the group passed a Croatian local, dressed in civilian clothing. The person walked back into a house and made a call. The group supposed that he contacted the authorities. Shortly after, while they were still on the same road, four Croatian officers dressed in black approached the group and shouted at them to stop. The officers ordered the group to sit down.
”Sit down… [then] they searching us, investigation… [they] take mobile, money, they don’t [give] back.”
The seven individuals were frisked and €50 was taken from one individual, €100 from another.
”Bullshit police, I’ve never seen like [this] before.”
The group of seven were then ordered to stand in a line to wait for a van. No details were taken and no receipt of arrest given and the minor was treated like the others, without receiving any special protection. After a while, three vehicles arrived, one white estate van and two patrol cars. All seven of them were loaded into the rear passenger area of the estate and driven for around three hours to the Bosnian border close to Maljevac (HRV).
When the van stopped, they had to get off one by one. It was around 12.30 am so the seven individuals could see very little. Immediately after exiting the van, the individuals found themselves in an ambush of six Croatian officers, dressed in black wearing balaclavas and pistols. They used batons to beat the individuals, also insulted them and pushed them away from the rear of the estate, shouting:
“Leave this place.”
There was no opportunity to claim asylum during the entire interaction with the authorities. Though the respondent and the others attempted to ask, they were consistently ignored.
“They don’t have any system to apply for asylum, I asked three times and they don’t accept me.”
One officer asked him:
“Why do you leave your country?
To which he replied:
“I have political problem.”
The Croatian officers only laughed and continued to ignore his wish to seek asylum.
Some individuals sustained lateral bruising to the upper back as a result of heavy baton strikes. The others all had similar injuries and one man later went to the local hospital in Velika Kladusa to have his arm checked for potential fractures to the fibula bone.