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Our politics don’t want you to stay in Slovenia. 

Date & Time 2019-08-24
Location Mrazovac, Croatia
Reported by Border Violence Monitoring Network
Coordinates 45.0961, 16.124577
Pushback from Croatia, Slovenia
Pushback to Bosnia, Croatia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 16 - 23
Group size 42
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting
Police involved Slovenian policeman wearing plain clothes, Croatian police officers with van

The group left from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and crossed Croatia, travelling on into Slovenia undetected. The group were travelling by car near Krnica (Slovenia) when they were stopped by people dressed in plain clothes, but described as identifying themselves as Slovenian police. The officers asked the driver of the vehicle which the transit group were in to park beside the road.

The officers then made the group exit the vehicle one-by-one, and called another police team for reinforcement. Finally the group were all taken to police vans, and loaded into them. After driving to a police station, an officer opened the door and asked them where they came from. Everyone answered verbally. Then the officer asked who could speak English. The interviewee said that he could. Then the officer asked who in the transit group was a minor.

The officer made the minors get out of the vehicle, twelve in total. This did not include the respondent who was an adult. The police officer instructed him that he would translate for the group. Then the remaining group of adults left in the van were transported to another police station.

At the station the respondent was interviewed by police. The interrogator wanted to know his identity, but also to know who was the smuggler of the group.  He gave his index fingerprint and had his photograph taken in two different rooms. The respondent had to sign approximately ten documents. When he signed the documents, he believed that he would be brought to a registration centre and was positive about this prospect.

“I was sitting and he said “What’s your name?“ I said, “My name is Hussein,” so okay “where are you from?”, “I am from Pakistan”, okay so then , “how did you enter Slovenia?” Same condition. And then I give finger and then another policeman took me in another room and I give my finger again. And I am thinking , this time I am seeing a good dream, now I am staying in Slovenia  but no, he deport me. Picture from camera of the computer 2 times.”

The respondent was taken back to the first interview room and instructed to make the translation for the minors who had been previously been separated from the adults. The respondent performed these translations of the formal interview process. One of the people separated as a minor entered, but the police officers did not believe this was the case. The respondent began to translate directly what  this group member said, but the police became immediately angry at the respondent.

‘So one boy is not minor but even he told me, “I’m minor”, so I am just translating. So that policeman said “fuck you! why are you translating? You look this guy , he is not minor, so why?“ I said, “ I am just translating, I am not responsible for this, he is telling just telling to me, I just explain.”‘

The respondent stated that when he explained this to the officer, the officer stood up, approached the respondent, and kicked him two times on his ribs while he was sitting on the chair. The interviewee fell down from the impact and shock. Immediately after this attack, another officer came into the room and asked the officer beating the respondent to stop. The officers spoke in Slovenian and the respondent could not understand the argument that followed between the two men.

With the exception of this person who was identified as an adult, the respondent shared that he did not understand why the other members of the group were not taken to a registration centre in Slovenia for unaccompanied minors. According to the interviewee, the officers doing the interview always wrote the wrong birth date, marking the group members as overage on the administrative documents.

“They deport, they don’t listen, even he just want to intimidate me, okay you are right his [man identified as adult] age [is overage], but it was one boy. One small boy same but even the policeman write, his age as 2000/1998/2001, but no-one accept this guy. They don’t want to give stay [paper]. Everyone, same age, he don’t want, he say our politics don’t want to you stay in Slovenia.”

The respondent was taken with the other group members to a room. He described this as a jail. They were detained together in this room overnight. In the morning a police officer told them that they had to go.

‘He said, “Go back Bosnia, you are Muslim and you need to stay over there!
I am not the responsible of this! I think this is the matter why he don’t come we come in Slovenia, in Croatia. I think this is what they want that we go back Bosnia, because Bosnia is a Muslim country, I think this is a factor”

The group were transferred by Slovenian police to the Croatian border, and from there Croatian police drove the group to the border with BiH. The respondent does not recall the exact location of the pushback, only that the drive through Croatia was long, suffered by the group in cramped and hot conditions.