The respondent is a 35-year-old man from Afghanistan who used to work for NATO between 2007 and 2010. Two months ago he decided to leave Afghanistan, as the thread by Taliban in his village strongly increased. Some of his former colleagues and friends have been killed by them. Hoping to reach the EU as fast as possible, he left his son and his wife with his brother, to bring them to safety, as soon as he arrives.
On the 14th October 2021, the respondent with a group of other four Afghan men between 20 and 35 years crossed the Croatian-Slovenian border walking through the mountainy forest western of the Croatian city of Bregana, by night. After several hours of hiking in the dark at very cold temperatures, the group decided to take a break in the Slovenian village Ponikve. Around midnight a small private car approached them. Two policemen in Slovenian police uniform and a third person without a uniform held the group on the spot until shortly after, when a second police car arrived. The second car was an unlabeled prisoner transport van. Inside the van, there were two more policemen in Slovenian police uniform.
The group was brought to a Slovenian police station that was, according to the respondent, nearby. The respondent does not recall exactly where since he was not able to see anything from the van. There the group was locked into a small room. One policeman came into the room and asked the people if they had money and how much. The respondent stated, that he had 500 Euro. The others said that they did not have any money. After examining the other four, the policemen took the 500 Euro of the respondent. According to him, the policemen justified taking the money by saying that this would be a charge for crossing the border. After this, pictures and fingerprints were taken of every person in the group as well as personal data. The respondent described that the policeman wanted to keep his ID, but after a long discussion he handed it back again. After, the people had to sign different documents which were written in the Slovenian language. The group asked for a translation or a translator but both requests were denied by the policeman. According to the respondent, the people were offered food and drinking water and were allowed to go to the toilet during their detention.
In the evening (around 7 pm) of the 14th October 2021, the group was picked up at the police station by two Croatian policemen. The group had to go in an unlabeled prisoner transport van and was brought to a police station in Croatia. The respondent said, that the drive took approximately one hour from the first police station. When they arrived at the Croatian police station, the group was locked into a small room again. In the middle of the room, there was a free-standing toilet with a little sink. When the group asked for food and water, the policemen denied the request. Again the people had to sign different documents which were written in the Croatian language – the request for a translation or a translator was denied. After the documents were signed, the policemen took away the phones of every person in the group and kept them – the phones were not given back to them. Furthermore, pictures were taken of the five men as well as their data being collected.
After four hours of detention, at around 11 pm on the 14th October 2021, two policemen who could be identified as members of the Croatian Interventna Jednica Policija (IJP) picked up the group. They had to go into a labeled prisoner transport van, where already four men from Pakistan were. Approximately two hours later (at around 1 am on the 15th October 2021) the group had to leave the van in a forest at the Croatian-Bosnian border region. The respondent does not recall the location since he could not see anything from the van, it was night and their phones had been stolen by the policemen before. However he can confirm that the group was pushed back out of Croatia towards Bosnia. When the 9 people left the van, there was a second car – a private one with three more policemen who he identified as members of the IJP, as well. All five policemen were wearing black uniforms and black balaclavas. One policeman pushed the people to move forwards and shouted at them that they should run. The four others were standing in a line, shouting at the people and beating them with their multifunctional intervention sticks as the people ran past them.