On 30th September 2019 a group in transit, with five persons from Algeria (aged 25, 27, 28, 33, and 45), were stopped by police near Golo (SLO). The group was stopped after crossing a small road approximately 20 km from Ljubljana (SLO). A Slovenian police van was at the street crossing and spotted the group in transit. Two police officers, who appeared to be municipal police, exited the van with pistols drawn and pointed the pistols at the five transit group members. The respondent stated that the men were ordered at gun point to stop and sit down on the ground.
The police then took the respondent’s phone and opened the application “Maps Me” and then the GPS application. The respondent suggested that the officer was looking to see the route which the transit group were traveling by.
The transit group was transported in the van to a police station. During the interview the respondent used an online map to identify the station where he thinks the group was taken to, asserting that he believed they were transported to Ribnica (SLO) police station. At the station all five men had their fingerprints taken. An officer took photos of their faces, then the group was forced to sign a document including their name and family names. The respondent was able to speak French with one officer and he expressed intent for asylum. To this verbal request for asylum he was was denied. The officer told them:
“No, go to Bosnia. Too many Algerians. Big problem.”
The group was detained overnight (30.9.2019). The next morning, on 1st October, the group was transported from Slovenia to Croatia in a police van. The respondent believed they may have been taken to Buzet (HR) police station near the Croatian border. This was based on being able to look at Maps Me during transport, where the respondent saw the police van was moving past Postonja (HR), which is located approximately halfway between the apprehension point at Golo (SLO) and the detention in Buzet (HR). The group was detained in this police station for approximately four hours.
At the station the respondent asked at separate times for food, water, and to have a cigarette. To this request the respondent was beaten with a baton by an officer in the station.
“They give us no food, no water, no cigarette. We are treated like animals. I ask, ‘Hello police, water?’ and they shout ‘NO!’ They shout, they keep shouting and then they hit us.”
One officer hit the respondent on his hands, arms, and shoulders with a baton. After the four hours in detention, including the beating by an officer, the group was again transported in a police van. The temperature inside the van was extremely cold according to the respondent.
The van stopped near the HR/BiH border, where an unknown number of Croatian police officers wearing black uniforms with the Croatian flag emblem sewed on where waiting. At this point the officers searched the respondent’s bag and patted down his pockets. All of their money was taken out of bags and removed from their trouser pockets.
The transit group were then forced to undress. Their trousers, shirts, jackets and shoes were laid in a pile and burned by the police officers. Their socks were thrown into the river next to where the van had stopped. The five men were left standing in only their underwear as they watched their personal belongings be destroyed.
Two police officers fired their guns twice into the air and yelled,
“Go! Go to Bosnia! Go to Bihać.”
At this point the transit group were forced across the border back to BiH.