The group of four men walked from Bihac (BIH) to Croatia where they wanted to find a safe place where they could apply for asylum and find work. In their home country Iran this had not been possible due to the totalitarian government. After a few days of walking, the authorities detected them and started shooting around them with their guns.
“I can hear six bullets when the police shoot.”
All three of them stopped immediately and were scared of the officers who began verbally and physically attacking them. They questioned them about their intentions in Croatia, but when they tried to explain their situation, they didn’t let them say anything and attacked them at every occasion:
“When I saw the police, they asked us what we were doing here. I said that I wanted safe country, save my life. And he did not listen to me, only kick. He did not let me to speak, they were very bad, beating us by baton, kicking my friend, many kicks, many kicks, only kicking us, no speaking to us. One person was very, very, very bad and he kept calling us mother fuckers. He was very rude.“
Then, one officer asked them where they were from and afterwards told them to enter the police van. The lights of the windowless backspace were turned off, so the four of them were sitting in total darkness not knowing where they were going of what would happen next. The car was driving very fast and stopped once to pick up one other Tunisian male. After 1,5 hours, the driver stopped in a remote area close to the official border check point in Maljevac (HRV), close to Velika Kladuša (BIH). The officer, a woman, opened the door of the car and started shouting at the individuals to get off.
“One police officer was very bad, it was she, woman who kept shouting: ‘Go, go, go!‘. It was very cold, and I did not have warm clothes. They were shouting at us: ‘Go, only go!‘. It was in a forest, it was foggy, very cold, it was very bad.”
After they got off the van, the officers searched through their bags and stole everything they had inside, including their money, taking from the respondent around €60. Further they took all three phones and destroyed them by smashing them with their boots. Afterwards they started again to attack them with batons, kicks while shouting at them to go back to Bosnia.
“I was scared when I was going back. They kept kicking me with legs and pushed me into the jungle [forest]. I fell and scratched my face and my body. My friend was attacked by a baton. My friend’s legs hurt, and he has a headache. This one [showing me a bruise on his belly] is from a kick and push.”
After the push-back, all four of them walked back to the makeshift camp in Velika Kladuša.