The respondent is a 25 year old man from Afghanistan. He crossed the border from Serbia to Croatia with other 13 people, also Afghan men, on December 18th. After crossing the border into Croatia on foot, they walked for around 16 hours across forest and fields, until they reached the intersection of the A3 and D55 roads near Županja (approximate coordinates: 45.109683, 18.702591). The 14 men started crossing the highway on the 18th of December at 3.00 pm at which point they were apprehended by a group of Croatian authorities.
The officers were a group of 6 men, four of them wearing blue uniforms and the other two, black ones. The respondent described the two authorities wearing in black as “no good police” and the ones in blue as “better police”. In this way, he described that the authorities clad in blue treated them nominally better than those clad in black.
The 14 men in the group, including the respondent, were pushed to lay down. The officers checked everything they had and beat them one by one with batons. The respondent was beaten in all his back from the neck until the ankles. He explained that he suffered of pain for ten days in the whole body.
When they finished beating all group members, the officers took their mobile phones, money, papers and all their belongings.
The respondent highlighted that they were not given any water to drink, even though they had asked for it. Allegedly, they expressed an intention to claim asylum to the officers, but they were denied as well. The officers reportedly only spoke to the group members in Croatian, and therefor communication was extremely limited.
Eventually, the group was reportedly were forced to get into a police vehicle which waited by the seen. The respondent described it as a large white prisoner transport van. The drive back was relatively quick and the went directly back to the border without any stops. According to the respondent, they were driven back to the Croatian-Serbian border next to Tovarnik (Croatia) and left them along the train tracks in that area. The respondent also emphasized that before being forced to walk back into Serbia, the Croatian authorities forced them to remove their shoes.