The respondent is a 27-year-old man from Afghanistan.
On the 12th of October, the respondent was at the train station of Novska, Croatia, with two other Afghan people who were 20 and 24 years old. They were waiting for the train to Zagreb for a while. Around 10:05 AM, a police van with two policemen arrived. The respondent describes it as a white van with blue letters saying “Policiia” on both sides. Reportedly, the policemen were of the border police.
First, the policemen asked where the three members of the transit group originate from and then they asked for their passports. As the respondent replied that they did not have passports, the policemen ordered them to go outside of the train station, to the parking lot. Here the officers called another policeman who arrived after 15 minutes. This policeman was wearing a light blue uniform, a sign that he possibly belonged to the local police. He arrived in a police jeep.
The officer ordered to put phones, powerbanks, headphones, train tickets, money and other personal belongings in a plastic bag. In total, they handed over 900 euros, three phones, three power banks, and the train tickets. Then, the policeman started to search the body of the transit group members but he did not find anything else.
The policeman called other officers who came after 30 minutes with a white police van. Inside there were three policemen of the border police and 9 persons in the back of the van. The respondent states that the 9 persons were around 20 – 30 years old, all single men from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The three policemen ordered the respondent and his friend to go inside the back of the van. He describes it as without windows and with a closed fan that didn’t let pass oxygen during the trip. “They were going fast and then slow, fast and slow… Everybody was sick”.
The respondent states that the policemen drove for what he felt were 4 hours. During this time, the van stopped three times: the first stop lasted only for about 5 minutes, the second time for 20 minutes, and the third time again for 5 minutes. During these pauses, the respondent says that the policemen were talking with other officers in Croatian leaving the persons inside the van without light and oxygen.
The border police pushed everybody back in the area of Buzim, BiH. Here, as the respondent states, there were another six policemen and one policewoman present.
The respondents describe the procedure of the pushback at the border: the members of the transit group had to go out of the van in pairs while the others had to wait inside the closed van. Then, the couple had to leave blankets, bags, sleeping bags, shoes, and jackets in a pile of all their personal belongings that laster was burned. Afterward, they had to pass between two policemen who struck them with batons. “One policeman struck me four times, the other three times… I was trying to protect myself from one of them but the other beat me from behind”.
In the meanwhile, “The policewoman was smiling and talking with the other officers 20 meters far away from the van”.
The respondent walked for one night and one day to reach Velika Kladusa.