On the 4th of September, a group of sixteen people on the move crossed into Croatia in the area of Šid, Serbia. That night they slept in the jungle exhausted from their journey. In the morning, the group got onto a large truck. The respondent said that they rode in the truck for around forty minutes until they were stopped by the police at around 1 pm in the afternoon. The respondent said that the police made them all get out of the truck and took pictures of the group standing by the truck. A member of the group said that they asked the police for asylum, but the police did not say anything to the group. The respondent stated that a large blue police van arrived shortly after the group was discovered, and the group was forced to sit inside the van with very limited space as they were transported. They said that the van was extremely hot and had no windows, so they were unable to see where the police were taking them.
They arrived at a police station after what the group described felt like 35 minutes. They said that when they arrived at the station, the police interrogated them asking who the driver of the truck was and how they arrived in Croatia. They also asked who spoke English out of the sixteen group members. Two of the group members raised their hands. Then all of the members of the group had their picture taken and were asked to fill out a document that asked for their name, place of birth, etc. On this form was the location of the police station, which one of the group members recalled was in Vinkovci, Croatia. The group said that they asked the police to apply for asylum and they responded with “That is not my work”.
After they filled out these documents in English, two of the group members were taken to a different police station. They said that they felt a moment of relief because they thought that maybe they had been given the opportunity to ask for asylum. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The two members were placed under lockdown. Meanwhile, the other 14 group members were pushed back to Serbia around 6:30 pm. They said that the police took them to the Batrovci border and ordered them to run for one kilometer.
The two other group members were placed in lockdown for four nights. They said that they were given food once a day and it was very little. They were extremely hungry and confused. They said that they asked the police when they would be set free and the police would not answer them. Finally, on September 9th they were brought in front of a judge with an English translator present. A group member explained that they asked the judge again for asylum, and the judge laughed saying that they do not have a place there.
“You do not have a place here.”
After they saw the judge, they were pushed back to Serbia.