“"You can not seek for asylum here!"”

  • Date and time: October 12, 2021 00:00
  • Location: near Ponikve (8261 Slovenia)
  • Coordinates: 45.847557, 15.6410573
  • Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: unknown , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), threatening with guns, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 Slovenian officers, number of Croatian officers unknown, all officers described as wearing "blue uniform"
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, papers signed, forced to pay fee
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Collective Aid

Original Report

The respondents are two approx. 30-year-old men from Afghanistan. Both explained they had worked for the U.S Military in the past. After making it to Croatia, on 11th October in the evening, they crossed the border from Croatia to Slovenia with a group of 5 people and walked to the small village Ponikve (8261 Slovenia). The group was composed of 4 single men and 1 minor, all from Afghanistan. After that, they were caught by 4 Slovenian police officers, wearing blue uniforms (however, the flags on the uniforms were unknown to the respondents). The officers slapped them in the face and were forced to sit down. One person asked to go to pee. One of the officers pointed his gun at him with the words: “Go to pee but if you run I´ll shoot you!”.

Around midnight the group was transported to the next police station, where they expressed their wish to seek asylum. One police officer answered: “You can not ask for asylum here! ” and “Maybe you will go to prison”. They had to sign papers. A translator (Pakistani) was there but, according to the respondents, they said to “just sign” the papers. One man had to pay 480 Euro in the police station for illegally crossing the border.

After signing the papers the group was handed over to the Croatian police in the early morning. They were detained in a “detention center” for approximately 13 hours. According to one respondent this detention center was approx. 1 hour away from the border by car.

At 6 o´clock in the evening of the 12th October, all 5 men were deported to the “Bosnian Jungle”. The Croatian officers stole their belongings (phones, clothes, money) and the group did not know their location. The transit group were hit with sticks. The police officers wore blue clothes and balaclavas. One respondent described the actions of the police as “worse than the Taliban”.

After being pushed back, the group walked through the Bosnian woods and reached the town of Bihac.