A group of five, including two minors, left Bihac (BIH) and walked for six hours, crossing the Croatian border, until they reached a small town in Croatia. There, they were picked up by a car, organized from a smuggler, who was supposed to transport them to Italy. If they reached their destination, they would each pay €2000 to the smuggler, in total €10000. They didn’t see another option for them to apply for asylum in Europe than through a cooperation with smuggler networks. They didn’t find a possibility to legally transit Europe.
“They took expensive mobiles into their pockets, and normal mobile broke. They took 100 euros from me. They beat us, men, hard, saying to us to go to Muslim man country, that they do not have space in Europe. “This is not for you Europe, go to Muslim man country!”, they kept repeating to us. No human rights. Where is the European Union? Where is the European people? All is blind. I am Muslim, but I read in the Bible and in the Bible is written, respect the humanity and the human rights. I respect the Bible, but Croatian police do not respect Muslims.”
Once they were picked up by the smuggler they started driving north. When they were passing through the town of Rijeka (HRV), the car was stopped by the Slovenian authorities. The officers questioned the five of them why they came to Slovenia, using abusive language. Then, they were transported to a police station in Rijeka. At the police station, they asked the officers whether they could apply for asylum in Slovenia, but one officer just responded:
“For Muslims no asylum.”
The driver of the car who was also the smuggler was only charged €2200 and then released:
“It is a business, Croatian business. Catching refugee, not a taxi driver. Only 2.200 fine for the driver, and the lawyer, but the driver is free now. No jail, nothing.”
Then, they were first transported with a van through Croatia to the Bosnian border. During the drive, they had problems to breath inside the van as the officers had used an irritant spray inside of the backspace before the individuals entered.
“They used spray, oxygen problem, I had eyes problem in the car. They sprayed and closed the door. We were vomiting because of oxygen problem.”
The van stopped at several police stations to pick up more people on the move. When they reached the Bosnian border, the officers told them to get off the van. They then first broke their phones, stole their money, and afterwards attacked them physically and mentally.
The group of five and other people on the move who had been pushed back, including seven women, had to walk back in the cold night to the camp in Velika Kladuša (BIH).