The transit group (consisting of two male Moroccans, two male Algerians, and one male Tunisian aged 29-43 years old) left Velika Kladuša (BiH) on the 12th February 2020, before continuing through Croatia towards Slovenia.
At approximately 12:00 on the 23rd February 2020, the transit group were spotted near road D32, 15km away from the Slovenian border by 10 police officers (nine male and one female). The officers chased the transit group and fired five warning gunshots into the air. The officers screamed at the transit group to stop, and began to beat them with batons. One group member was sick and suffered an epileptic fit when officers beat him. The transit group asked the officers for medicine, but they ignored him and continued to kick the sick group member while he lay on the ground. The officers went through the transit groups backpacks and confiscated seven power-banks and roughly €600.00. The officers then forced the transit group to undress (with only their underwear remaining), hand over all of their clothes and belongings, and watch as the officers burnt everything.
The transit group was then taken to a police station via two vans (one a Mercedes and one a Peugeot). Already at the station was a group of 4 men from Afghanistan. Here, access to water, food and toilets was denied.
“The Croatian police gives you nothing. We weren’t even allowed to go to the toilet.”
At approximately 00:00, the transit group (now consisting of 9 males) were forced into a police van which could not fit everyone comfortably. Two officers in dark blue uniforms wearing ski masks drove the van to the Croatian-Bosnian border. Another van with four officers, all wearing dark blue uniforms and ski masks followed behind.
“Everything was dark, when they opened the door of the van. I saw nothing”
The transit group were forced to exit the van, were beaten by the officers with wooden logs laying on the ground in the forest, and were then pushed-back into Bosnian territory (BiH). One group member lost two teeth after being struck in the face with a log. The transit group of 9 walked approximately 15km to Velika Kladuša, wearing only their underwear.