“Not one bread”

  • Date and time: October 26, 2019 00:00
  • Location: Obrežje, Slovenia
  • Coordinates: 45.84478618034518, 15.694835548214428
  • Push-back from: Slovenia, Croatia
  • Push-back to: Serbia
  • Demographics: 2 person(s), age: 17, 29 , from: Iran
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 8 Slovenian border officers, 5 Croatian border officers, 1 Croatian police van
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring, No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The two companions from Teheran, Iran, embarked on their journey to Croatia during the night. Starting in north-eastern Bosnia, they crossed the border (via the Sava river) and walked for three nights.They boarded a truck at around 03:00 on 25th October 2019. Hidden inside, they waited until the driver continued his journey at around 07:00. For the next few hours they stayed inside waited. According to the respondents statement, the truck made a long stop in Zagreb after which it continued its ride.

In the afternoon of October 25th the vehicle reached the border crossing to Slovenia at Obrezje (45.8465975, 15.6938655). Passing the scanner, the driver was pulled over for a screening of his trailer, after one of the border agents apparently detected the irregular canvas of the truck where the men had entered. The respondents were then quickly detected by Slovenian authorities who opened the back door and ordered the group to step outside the vehicle, to be put into border custody in a detention cell next to the border station. The respondent mentioned a total of eight officers dressed in dark blue uniforms. After the Slovenian border officials contacted their Croatian colleagues, the two men waited there for two hours until their arrival. They were then transferred to the Croatian side by foot, having their hands cuffed behind their backs.

Once at the Croatian border checkpoint they were led into the detention cabin. Inside, the men found themselves among five to six Croatian border officials, being identified as Temelnija police, that conducted a strip search on them. Following the respondents statement the officers confiscated their phones, backpacks (containing clothes) and their belts. Being ordered to hand over their money, one of the men obeyed by issuing 150 € from a pocket of his cargo pants, not mentioning a further 350 € concealed in a secret pocket of his jacket. As one officer detected the hidden money, the men received a several strokes to the head the officers hand.

“Police said – ‘give me money’ – I give him money, 150 € [points at cargo pant] He said – ‘All money?’ – I say Yes. Then find other [points at secret pocket] Get very angry” [Imitating beatings to the head]

When recalling the confiscation, the man suggested he witnessed the officer noting down the amount of “100 €” instead of the 500 € he had actually seized. The respondent received another slap on the head as he made a comment about it. The men then had their photos taken as well as their fingerprints [index finger]. They were ordered to write down their full names, as well as the names of their father and mother. They were also handed documents to sign, which were not issued in Farsi. No translator was present during their time in custody. The procedure was followed by a stay in a small detention cell, according to the respondent 2m to 5m in size. According to the respondent this lasted 24hrs.

The respondent stated that, within the period of his detention, he was withdrawn twice from his cell for sessions of beatings. The violence, that in total would last around 60 minutes and was carried out by [at least] two officers, consisted of fist punches, kicks and knees to the stomach area, head and extremities. The respondent further demonstrated his head being smashed against the cell bars, as well as receiving several hits to the face while being restraint by another officer. He was then be ordered back into the cell to spend the night.

The transit group were denied any form of food or drinks, even after they had asked for it.

“[we received] not one bread.”

After the detention, on the evening of October 26th, they were taken out of the cell and loaded into the back of a white van, by two officers. After a ride of around three hours they were released at the border to Serbia near Sid (45.1553459, 19.1742093). The officers told them to walk straight ahead, which they did. Late at night they reached Sid and found a place to pass the night in an abondened house.