A group of 6 left Velika Kladuša on foot and crossed the Bosnian – Croatian border. After 3 days walking and sleeping rough in forests the weather turned to heavy rain and conditions worsened, becoming especially difficult for the purposes of navigating through forest at night.
As the group came out of some woodland onto a road (around 1am), an unmarked vehicle was waiting at a nearby road crossing and approached them. 2 policemen wearing black uniforms came out. The behaviour of these 2 policemen was described as good and respectful by the three respondents Around 1 hour later, a police van (combi) with 2 other policemen arrived at the same location. The officers were wearing different uniforms, described as sky blue shirts and dark blue trousers. They started searching them for phones and money.
Following the search, the group of 6 people including 1 minor were driven to a police station at an unknown location, where they were searched again, one of the men reporting they were badly treated: “officer’s behaviour was totally rubbish, like animals”.
The group first mentioned to the police their intention to ask for asylum in Croatia, which was ignored and denied, including the case of a 17 years old boy. Seeing that the police wouldn’t give them a chance to apply for asylum in Croatia, the group asked for a permission to continue their journey towards Slovenia, stating they won’t stay in Croatian territory. No translator was available at any stage, and the police men (with only basic spoken English) were reported to have replied in English only to offer offensive remarks.
No photos, finger prints, nor papers were taken from any members of the group. After half an hour at the police station, the 6 people were driven near the Bosnian border in the same police van, with an escort of 2 other police cars (a total of 9 police men).
When the vehicles stopped at a forest nearby Velika Kladuša, the policemen took the migrants out of the car one by one and violently beat them using their sticks (4 to 5 policemen at a time). All of them were severely beaten, including the 17 years old boy multiple times on his head. A police dog was thrown at one of the migrants as they tried to escape. The group walked back to Kladusa at around 3-4am, both their phone and money had been kept by the police.
Bite marks of the police dog.