The respondent was traveling with a group of 24 people that started their journey from Bihac, and passed through an area near Izačić (BiH) on 24th December 2020 in the morning. The group was formed of people from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The respondent states there were no minors in the group of 24.
The respondent stated that the transit group walked for 12 days, crossing through Croatia and Slovenia. On 4th January 2021, they arrived close to the Italian border where they split up into smaller groups. Soon after crossing the border into Italy the respondent reports walking on a double-lane road when what he described as an Italian police car (with white and light blue markings) stopped him. Inside were two men in blue uniform, matching that of the Italian police. Another police vehicle and two “commando” vehicles described as being from Esercito Italiano – Italian Army – arrived soon after.
The respondents states he was taken in a building on a road in the proximity of the sea where there was a truck scanner and some containers. Inside the building, there were other people caught by the police. They were detained for 5 hours in the building (what the respondent describes as a “jail”). He was given a paper bracelet with the number 15 written on it. The respondent described that there were several policemen with uniforms, some in plainclothes, some from the army. Doctors arrived to check their temperature. There were also two mediators/translators (one speaking Pashtun, one Punjabi). The respondent expressed to them his intention to ask for asylum.
The respondent states that his phone was confiscated and his fingerprints were taken. Afterwards food and water were given to him. The respondent told the officers present:
“Don’t give me food, give me stay!”
The respondent reports being asked to sign 15 documents, and he was given copies of four of them in return. After this, himself and five others were removed from the facility where they were detained and driven for one hour in a convoy of vehicles. The group included: 2 Pakistani Pashtuns, 2 Pakistani Punjabis, 2 Bengalis. Reportedly, the group of six were divided among 3 police cars, with two persons placed in each. The cars arrived to the border with Slovenia. The respondent stated that the Italian police then handed over the group of six to the officers and also several copies of the identification document that had been filled out.
In the afternoon of 4th January, what was described as a Slovenian police van with windows arrived and drove the group of six to a detention centre. All 6 were placed in a room, where they were kept until the next morning. Food and water were given. Fingerprints of the second and third finger of the right hand were taken during their detention, according to the respondent.
The respondent reports that after this, Slovenian policemen in green uniforms (described by the respondent as “commandos”) took the group from the detention centre on 5th January, and after a journey of some hours reached the Croatian border. The respondent described seeing the river and a truck scanner at the border crossing, possibly matching the BCP at Obrezje. At the border crossing, what was referred to as Croatian police took the group of six inside a windowless van. The detainment in the back of the vehicle was reportedly very uncomfortable, and they were held there without proper ventilation, food or water for 5 hours. The group were not taken to a police station, but driven to the Croatian-Bosnian border.
On the night of 5th January the vehicle stopped and the doors opened. The respondent stated that the group found themselves in front of six men in black uniform, with black masks on their faces and armed with black metal sticks. Reportedly, the officers ordered the group to keep their eyes to the ground. The officers then took away the men’s clothes and shoes, then the backpacks and the phones. They also confiscated the documents issued by the Italian and Slovenian police.
All six people of the group were reportedly beaten with the metal sticks by the officers and forced back into Bosnia-Herzegovina, dressed only in their T-shirts. The group was able to reach Bihac finally, after 13 hours of walking without adequate clothing.