The group of eight men, walked for three days through Croatia after they had left from Velika Kladusa (BIH). They wanted to continue to Slovenia to apply for asylum there. Two days before reaching Slovenia, on October 5, 2018, four Croatian officers detected the group in a small forest. They were described as all male, one of them obese, some supposedly around 40 years old, the others around 30.
They sprayed an irritant spray on the individual’s faces and in the eyes, and afterwards questioned them about their nationality and intentions in Croatia. The respondent asked if he could apply for asylum in Croatia, but they just smirked without further responding to him. The officers were acting aggressively towards the group of eight and kept shouting at them. They then locked them into the backspace of a police van, where they were detained for several hours.
Late at night, when it was dark outside, ten other officers arrived and deported the eight individuals to the Bosnian border. There, they were told to get off the van and the officers broke their phones and took all their money:
“They [the policemen] took my money and stole everything and broke my phone. No money. From home, they sent us money, we bought new phones and power banks, but everything we had bought they stole and broke again.”
Then, the officers attacked the eight individuals with batons and pushed them into a river, shouting at them to go back to Bosnia:
“When they were deporting me, they were beating me very hard. They were beating also other people. Two man beating us, they also threw us to river, and kept pushing us to the river. They were behaving like animals.”
The respondent showed his back where he had a red mark from a baton strike (see photo), and told that he had a lot of pain:
“I cannot sleep, I sleep on the other side, on my belly, because my back is in too big pain. And this is the problem with the Croatian police because this is not only one time, many time they act like this and with other people, not only with me. People have broken hands, fingers, legs.”
After the push-back, the eight of them walked back to the makeshift camp in Velika Kladusa (BIH).