The respondent and his two friends, including one 17-year-old minor, traveled by foot from Velika Kladuša (BIH) to Croatia. They were on their way to Slovenia, where they wanted to apply for asylum. The second day at around 4 am, they were crossing the road A1, and were detected by a police helicopter. Following that, eight officers, six men and two women, arrived at the road in two cars, one small white police Skoda and one white van. Four of them were waiting inside of the car while the other four, wearing black uniforms and balaclavas, were talked to the three of them.
They only asked the three of them whether they had knives but did not ask them any other questions about their names, nationality, age, or why they were walking through the Croatian territory. After that, the officers frisked their bodies. They didn’t find any money but took their phones and crashed them with batons in front of them. Then, all three were directly transported with the van to the Bosnian border, where they were attacked with batons and pushed back to Bosnia:
“When we came to the border, he [police officer] entered the van and beat three people inside of the van, and after also outside. And when we crossed [the border], there was even more punishment, three other people beating us. […] They [police] had torches, and they were pointing into my eyes. They were on both sides and I was in the middle and I could not see from which side they were beating me. […] My friend fell and injured his leg. He fell when four people were beating him, he was crying very much. He was crying very much but they did not let him go. […] One who is 17 got seven or eight [hits with the] sticks, but he was running fast and he fell, and more people were beating him. He was saying that he was 17, but they did not leave him”.
While the three of them were running away from the spot of their push back, the officers were shooting with a gun around them, shouting:
“Go, go, go to Bosnia!”
After the attack, the three friends walked back to Velika Kladuša (BIH), where they temporarily stay under a plastic sheet tent in the makeshift camp. On the way back, a local Bosnian school bus driver stopped and offered them a free ride.
“We were walking from the border five hours and after we saw a student van. The driver asked us to come inside of the van but no money. No problem, you sit. And the Bosnian driver took us. Bosnian people are very good, very helpful”.