“"All 8 officers took turns beating us"”

Respondent shows red marks and slight bruising on his back from an officer's baton (HR).
  • Date and time: October 15, 2019 01:00
  • Location: Preloka, Slovenia
  • Coordinates: 45.464284, 15.333832
  • Push-back from: Slovenia, Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 17, 25, 27 , from: Syria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 3 Slovenian border officers in blue uniforms, 2 Slovenian officers wearing black uniforms with a serpent emblem on the sleeves, 1 Slovenian police van; 2 Croatian police vans, 8 Croatian Intervention police wearing black uniforms with the Croatian flag sewn on the sleeves (6/8 officers wearing black ski masks)
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name KItchen

Original Report

On October 14th 2019, a group of three people in transit from Syria, aged 17, 26, 27, were stopped by five police officers in Preloka (SLO) shortly after crossing the border from Croatia. 

Three of the officers in Slovenia were wearing blue uniforms. Two Slovenian border officers were wearing all black uniforms with the emblem what the respondent described as a “serpent or a cobra” on the upper arm sleeves.  

The transit group were brought to a police station at 14.00 and detained there for approximately nine hours with no food or wate.  

The respondent was given a document which asked what the group’s destination was. The respondent said “Slovenia” and the authority writing the document instead wrote or typed that the group’s intended destination was “Croatia.” The respondent expressed intent for asylum by saying:

“I want asylum in Slovenia,”

But the officer upon hearing this replied:

“No, no asylum for you here. You go back to Croatia.”

The respondent did not understand everything that was written on the document and was not provided a translator. At approximately 23.00, the respondent stated that Croatian Interventna officers from came to the police station in Slovenia to transport the group out of the country. 

The transit group were driven into Croatia, the respondent sharing that they were not taken to a police station. When the group were  in Croatia the respondent again said, “I want asylum.” The respondent clarified his requests, stating:

“I want asylum in Croatia.”

A special police officer in all black told him:

“Go to camp in Bosnia.” 

They were transported in a police van that the respondent described as feeling more like a “box” because there was no air circulating and the temperature was extremely hot. All three of the group members vomited while in the van because of the poor air quality and the officer’s reckless driving. One respondent vomited four times during the drive. The group in transit was driven in the van for approximately two hours, bringing them to the border with BiH in the early hours of the morning. 

The group was commanded to exit the van one by one (at approximately 01:00 on 15th October 2019). Outside of the van was a total of eight Interventna police officers (HR) forming a narrow corridor with four officers on each side. Six of the officers appeared to have arrived in a second police van according the respondent. The officers were described as “Commandos with cagoules” (the respondent describing the big polic jackets which had the Croatian flag sewn on the sleeve arms.

As the respondent exited the van he was hit by the two officers closest to the van, then passed down to the closest next two officers who were standing across from each other. This pattern continued until the respondent had passed through the corridor of all eight officers who each took turns hitting the respondent with their fists. The other two members of the group then endured this same violence as they too exited the van and were beaten through this corridor of officers. 

Once all three men in the group were outside of the van the respondents were ordered to undress, and their clothes and shoes were thrown into a pile. An officer lit fire to their clothes and then another officer used a “large piece of iron” to break all three of their phones. 

The officers used batons to hit the respondent “everywhere” and seemed to especially target his back by delivering more blows from the batons at this part of his body. One officer stomped on the respondents’ feat repeatedly with his heavy police boots. 

The minor in the group was “kicked like a ball” and one officer hit him on the back and knocked him down onto the ground then proceeded to kick the minor in his side (torso). The group was then forced to cross the border back into Bosnia wearing only their underwear, and having been severely beaten.