“I thought they were taking me to camp”

  • Date and time: September 21, 2020 00:00
  • Location: On the SS202 near Puglie, in Trieste
  • Coordinates: 45.6177631, 13.8485533
  • Push-back from: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia
  • Push-back to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 2 persons deported from Italy; 24 persons deported from Croatia person(s), age: Reporter: 20; group mixed ages , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Italian military; 2 Slovenian officers; 10 Croatian officers wearing all black
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

Around the 21st of September a group of 13 young men from Pakistan were apprehended by what they described as Italian military on the SS202 road near the village of Puglie, in Trieste, Italy [coordinates: 45.6177631,13.8485533] . In the days prior, they had made their way to Italy from Bosnia via Croatia and Slovenia. The man making this report was 20 years old; it uncertain whether the group included minors.

After their apprehension by these forces, they were taken to what was described as an army camp and were detained there for around 8 or 9 hours. During this time they were given food and water. The group expressed a desire for asylum to the apprehending officers and the prints from their thumbs and pointer fingers were recorded into a machine. The military figures then told them they would be taken to a camp and had them sign a document that was in Italian. No translation was provided during this time.

Of the thirteen group-members, eleven were taken to a camp in Italy. The man making this report and one other were driven back to the border with Slovenia by two Italian police officers in contrast, however, and were transferred to Slovenian custody. Until they reached the border, they believed they were going to a camp as well.

Once in Slovenia, the two men were then quickly driven in a van across Slovenia  by two Slovenian police officers to the border with Croatia. At the border with Croatia, they were then similarly transferred to Croatia custody and loaded into a different van and driven back to the country’s border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, near a secluded area northeast of Velika Kladuša. When they were loaded into this new van, they saw that there were many other people also going through the same procedures as them.

Once they arrived to the border area, the two men described seeing approximately 10 police (wearing all black and balaclavas, fitting the uniforms worn by the special police) deported 24 people in two vans to the border with Kladusa. They were taken from the van one by one, robbed of their phones, money, clothes (except underwear) and beaten with batons, then told to go back to Bosnia. Their clothes and bags with supplies were set on fire.