The 27 year old respondent interviewed in this case was pushed back from Slovenia to Bosnia, via Croatia. He was part of a 8 person group of men from Morocco, aged between 24 and 35.
The group was in Slovenia, about 30km away from the Croatian border (see map below). The transit group were apprehended at around midnight on 31st August 2020 by 5 or 6 Slovenian police wearing green and black clothes and head coverings so only their eyes were visible. The officers had guns and showed them to the group; the respondent inferred that this was to intimidate them. The respondent said they were not assaulted by the capturing officers:
“We didn’t run, so they didn’t beat us”
The transit group were brought to a police station in Slovenia where they were detained for about 4 hours. Then the group of men were brought from Slovenia to Croatia by van, arriving at about 04:00 on 1st September 2020. At the border, the Croatian police took their belongings. The Croatian police burnt their bags and put their phones and power banks in a plastic bag and did not return them. The group spent the rest of the night in the police station. They were placed in a room shared with other people who had been caught that day. There were 6 or 7 other people in the room, and the respondent believes they were either Pakistani or Afghani. In describing the room, the respondent stated:
“there was just a room with a metal door, nothing inside. Water, nothing. If you want to go to the toilet, you have to do it there.”
The next morning, they were brought back to the Bosnian border. The respondent does not know the exact location of the pushback, but stated it was close to Bihac (BiH). The group were removed across the border by Croatian police at approximately 10:00. Referring to the aftermath of the pushback the respondent stated:
“Then you start from the beginning again. No telephone, no belongings. No way to talk to family. It is very hard.”