The respondents are 3 Iranian men all around 40 years old. They were trying to reach Italy together with another fellow Iranian friend. They stated that in previous attempts, they had tried to ask for asylum in Slovenia but ended up being pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the interviewees, in the afternoon, when the group was in Koper (Slovenia), they were stopped by a man in plainclothes who showed them his police badge and his gun. They reported that the group immediately told him that they were trying to seek asylum. The respondents stated that after a phone call, a black van with 6 people in black and blue uniform with the Slovenian flag stitched on it came. Amongst them there were reportedly two woman and four man. Again, the group declared that they expressed the intention to seek asylum.
“My friend told them 5 times, 6 times: we want asylum. They were kind, told us that they were going to give us asylum if we followed them”
Thus, according to the interviewees, the group was brought to the local police station in Koper. They stated that they stayed there for one night. Water and food were reportedly provided, and they slept on the chair of the room where they were kept. According to their words, the following morning, they were brought to another room by two of the uniformed men that had been with them the day before. According to the respondents, in the room, there were 3 men from Afghanistan. Here, the respondents reports that their pictures were taken and all of them were handed some documents in Slovenian with apparently no translation.
“We were signing happily, thinking it was paper for asylum. Later we understood we were signing our own deportation paper”
The interviewees claimed that after the group signed, they were taken to a black van. The respondents did not recall how long exactly the journey lasted. They were feeling calm assuming that they were being transported to the camp in Slovenia. They said that they could not see anything from the car but when the door opened, they saw what they think is a police station and Croatian flags. The respondents did not know where they were as the window’s shutters were down and described to have been so nervous that they could not really recall even what time it was.
“In Croatia, everything changed. The police were angry. I guess they just hate migrant people. My friend had to take a tablet for a stomach problem, they took it from him and did not let him have his medicine.”
According to what the group reported, in what is described as a police station, the group was checked by men in uniform who intensely palpated the men reaching even their underwear.
“Everyone, we were feeling like we were criminals. But we are not criminals we are simple people”.
The respondent reported that after two hours in this building, they were again loaded into a black van. They stated that they were driven for almost 5 hours, and the members of the group were thrown around in the back of the car as the uniformed men were driving recklessly. The group told us that when the door of the van was opened, there were 9 people in uniform waiting for them. These people were described as wearing black uniforms and balaclavas and as having a big dog. Thus, it is most likely that they were members of the Croatian Intervention Police.
“When we arrived, they opened the door, and we could not see them or know their identities. Everybody had a big baton and there was a dog. They told us to come out of the van in line. Outside of the van the 9 police officers were on the two sides. We had to cross in the middle, and they would hit us in the legs, shoulder and back. Then they unleashed the dog. I have a problem with my heart. I told them ‘if you do this, beat me and unleash me the dog my heart can stop’. But they did not care. They did not say anything. Actually, in the whole time they did not say a word.”
The interviewees stated that after some minutes of beating, everyone in the group was grabbed violently by the clothes and the uniformed men took all their personal belongings: money, bags, phones, medicines (one of the respondent reported having a severe heart condition) and even the papers they signed in Slovenia. They reported that then, they unleashed the dog and two people were attacked heavily by the dog. According to their statement, with their arm and legs bleeding, they managed to escape the spot, crossing the border back into Bosnia and Herzegovina.