The group of three friends left Bosnia by foot on December 3, 2018. They took a bus from Slunj (HRV) to Zagreb (HRV). In Zagreb, they took the train at 7:43 pm to get to Sutla and arrived there at 8:45 pm. After they arrived at the train station, they walked around to find a proper spot to cross the border, but everywhere they went, they could see officers. They also tried to find a way to cross the river and found a small bridge with water passing under.
At approximately 6 am, they could see a white van on the Slovenian side, and supposed that they had called the Croatian authorities. Another white van arrived. When the officers went out of the van, they shot in the air, and then caught the interviewee and beat him with a baton on his head and legs. The 17-year-old boy tried to run away, but they caught him also and beat him strongly with a baton. The beating officer was male, in his early forties overweight with white skin, boad, and wore a black uniform.
They were asked their nationalities and stated:
“My friend said ‘Morocco’, he was beaten a lot. I said ‘Palestinian’, I was beaten a bit.”
The three individuals were then brought to a border station nearby which took them around five minutes by car. They sat on a seat in the back of a van with windows.
At the police station one of the officers hit the respondent in the back of the head with his closed fist. They were then frisked one by one, their phones were taken and never given back. Afterwards, they were held in a cell without a bed but with chairs inside. When they asked for water and food, they were refused.
They were then made to sign a paper with their personal information written on it twice. After this, the officers took a photo of the respondent holding a sign which had his name and surname written on it. When the respondent requested asylum, they laughed and answered:
He also said that he didn’t speak English and asked for someone who could speak Arabic to understand the situation, but nobody came. There were many officers in the station but the interviewee spoke about two officers in particular.
One was nice, the other bad. The latter was male, around 1.90 meters with white skin a five-day beard, blue eyes, salt and pepper hair, being around 29 years old, and wearing a black uniform. He is the one who beat the respondent. The nice officer was a bald man with white skin, also wearing a black uniform.
From the police station, they were brought to the Bosnian-Croatian border around 20 km away from Velika Kladuša (BIH), arriving there at approximately 5.30 pm. The van was quite hot since the heater was on. The driver was driving fast, swerving from right to left, making them fall on both sides. Upon their arrival at the border, their phones were destroyed with a baton. Five officers were already present there and there was a fire in which they threw the group’s sleeping bags and phones. The officers shouted at them:
“Here is Bosnia [showing Bosnia with his arm], if you go Croatia, I will kill you.”
“Welcome Croatia [while they were laughing].”
“Idemo, idemo, march, march!”
After crossing the border, the three of them walked back to Velika Kladuša (BIH) and arrived there at approximately 8 pm.
The respondent had attempted to cross the border ten times previously, including four times where he expressed his intention to claim asylum in Croatia. However, his request has always been denied. Therefore, he is nowadays, he is thinking about doing a voluntary return to Morocco.
“My dad earns from his retirement €150 per month, for a flat, the rent, there is €50 left to live, what for? It is misery”
One of the respondents spoke about the 17-year-old boy in the group:
“Psychically he changed, before he laughed but now, he is giving up on himself.”