The respondent walked alone from Velika Kladuša (BIH) to Croatia. He intended to continue to Slovenia and then to Italy, where he wanted to seek asylum. While he was walking in Croatia, close to the Slovenian border, he got detected by three Croatian officers. They stopped him, started frisking his body and threatening him with guns:
“They had guns. They took their gun and placed it to my head. They were asking me: “Where are your friends?”, while they were putting the gun into my head and telling me to sit down. They asked me: “You need cigarette?” and took my cigarettes and threw them away.”
Afterwards, he was transported to a police station in Rijeka (HRV). He went through a short investigation procedure there, being questioned about his nationality and his intentions of crossing from Croatia to Slovenia. At the end, they took a photo of him and made him fill out a document with his identifying features such as name, country of origin, and age. The respondent mentioned that the Croatian officers at the police station treated him with respect at the police station and provided him with food and water.
After several hours he was transported from to Bosnia together with other people on the move, all male. On the way, the van stopped once, picking up more people on the move. One of the individuals was 16-years-old. The journey was difficult for the group of now 10 as hey lacked oxygen inside the van’s backspace:
“It was a closed car where there was no air, just a little bit air. So, we had a problem to breath.”
When they arrived at the border Bosnian border, the officers order them to get off the van in groups of four. Then, they stole their money, phones and power banks while searching their bodies. When they found a good phone, they put it into their pockets, while damaging the old phones with batons. Then, the ten of them were physically attacked by two officers wearing black uniforms and balaclavas, waiting outside of the van.
“They were beating us at the border close to Velika Kladuša … They took us four by four out of the car and were beating us … They finished with 2 people, me and my friend were the last. We were running after. They were shouting at us to move and run. I tried to ask them to give me back my money and phone, but they said to me no question and kept beating me … There was a hill and they pushed me from that hill. One guy was 16 years old, he told them that. Another man was 22 years old, but both got beaten by the police. They did not care if you were young, or child, or old, no problem, they [Croatian police] beat everyone.”
The respondent then walked back with the other nine to the makeshift camp in Velika Kladuša (BIH). He had pain in his back, legs, hands and a headache. One of his friends, who was 16-years-old, had pain all over his body.