On August 31st. 2018, a group of seven young males and one minor, traveled on foot through woodland, from Bosnia into Croatia via the border near Sturlic. They walked in westwards towards the town of Slunj, and from there followed the highway number 1 northwards. Approximately 10 km from the Slovenian border, the group were spotted by a police unit traveling by car.
Two officers dressed in black approached them and shouted at them to stop. The group complied with this instruction. They were then told to sit down and wait. After around 15 minutes a “combi-style” police van arrived and all eight men were loaded into the back of it. They were delivered to a nearby police station where their names were taken and belongings removed.
The group spent an hour there, but signed no documents nor gave any fingerprints. Despite their requests, they were not given any food or water. After an hour at the station, the group were again told to go into the van and driven for around 1,5 hrs. The van was driven erratically and the lack of oxygen in the back made all the members of the group feel sick.
At the Croatian-Bosnian border, about 25 km north from Bihac, the “combi” was stopped and parked, still with all eight people inside. As the back door was opened, the transit group found a row of police on either side of the van (six in total), all dressed in black uniforms. The eight individuals were told to go out one by one. At this point the corridor of police officers started to beat the men with forceful overhead strikes, using batons.
It was during this attack that the minor received severe impact wounds to his right eye and eye socket. The injury was caused by a diagonal plane baton strike downwards onto the victim’s face, consistent with the overhead assault from the lines of police. The individual described how he was attacked from all sides by almost all of the officers.
At the border the police did not return any of the groups belongings which had been confiscated. This included money, mobile phones and power banks. The group did not sign any documents or give any fingerprints, despite the group asked for access to apply for asylum. The officers only replied “Shut up!” or “No!”