On Friday 13th of January, the respondent, a 28-year-old Algerian man, left from Baljevac (Bosnia Herzegovina-Una Sana Canton) with three Moroccan friends. They walked through deep snow all the way toVranovača (Croatia), where they arrived at around 4 am.
At 7 am, the respondent reports that he went to a café nearby to buy hot coffee and cigarettes. Inside the café, he saw 5 people: he describes them as wearing dark blue uniforms with a large ‘policija’ sign on the back, and identifies them as Croatian police officers. Reportedly, there were 4 men and 1 woman. They all looked at him and then followed him out of the café.
The respondent recalls that the female officer stopped him and asked him to identify himself and to show his passport. He replied that he did not have his passport with him, so the officer then asked him to enter a vehicle that he describes as a large black van with fences on its windows. In the van, there were already 4people, visibly very injured and in pain. They had to wait for a while in the van, and then it drove off.
They were driven for one hour and a half, and they reached a police station at 10 am. The respondent is not able to locate or further describe the police station they were taken to, since he was very tired and confused after being locked up in the back of the van.
At that point, he recalls that the five officers took him into a room inside the police station and started beating him,, while the other people stayed inside the van, waiting. They kicked him and beat him for what the respondent perceived as being at least 30 minutes. He reports that he was in the room with the 5 officers:3 of them were beating him with their kicks, 2 of them with their batons. They hit his legs, feet and ankles, hands, head and face.
Afterwards, they reportedly took the respondent back to the van and drove for a while. The respondent further recalls that, eventually, they arrived near Kulen Vakuf (Bosnia Herzegovina). .
All the group was dropped off the van and the officers, at that point, took their phones and all the money they had. They showed them a direction in which they had to walk and threatened them: “I will kill you if you come back”.
The respondent started walking alone, as he wanted to go back to Croatia. He walked for many hours in the forest, not knowing exactly which direction to go as he had no phone with him. At some point, he saw a river and, thinking that it was the one drawing the border between Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina, he crossed it. He reports that it was night, very cold, and there was a lot of snow.
He swam for a time he perceived as being about 15 minutes and arrived on the other side of the river. Once out of the river, he started asking for help by knocking on the doors of private houses nearby. Two girls eventually gave him some clothes to change into, and he left immediately.
The next day, he went to a bar and he discovered that he was still in Bosnia.