On 8th August 2022 the respondent, a 17 years old young man from Lebanon, tried to cross the Bosnian-Croatian border for the 7th time.
He decided to try to cross the border alone. He described that he walked for 2 days in Bosnia to reach the border and 2 days in Croatia before officers found him and apprehended him, around 4pm.
The uniforms, described by the respondent, matched that of the border Croatian police: “light blue t-shirt and black pants”. When they approached him, one of the three officers reportedly asked him to stop and they started to chase him and beat him with sticks on his head and legs and with punches in his face, he recounted. According to the respondent, it was only after this that they asked him his name and age, and what country he was coming from. The respondent recalled that even though he told them he was seventeen, the police wrote down on a paper that he was born in 2004, so he was not a minor anymore.
After that, he explained that he waited there with the officers guarding him. He was placed in a sort of cage; according to the respondent’s description it looked like something made for animals. After some hours a blue van marked with ‘Police’ arrived, and he was loaded in. The respondent stated that during the trip inside the van no water or food was provided.
On the drive, the respondent said that he saw a windmill on the road, where people were stopping to take pictures. He claimed that, roughly reconstructing the route he took, the windmill may be a clue that when the police apprehended him in Croatia, he was still fairly close to Sturlic (a small town in Bosnia, very close to the border).
When the van finally stopped, the respondent explained that three other officers – different to the first ones – left him in the forest somewhere close to the Bosnian border. It was dark outside. The respondent remembered that one of the officers told him: “The next time I am going to see you crossing the border, we will kill you!“.
The respondent reported that he then started to run as fast as he could to avoid further violence.