This was the 13th time that the respondent tried to cross the border. He describes that, after seven days of walking through forested areas in freezing cold weather, Croatian officers that he recalls to belong to the police, apprehended the transit group of eleven people, all from Pakistan, on 10th March. When the officers detected them, they were walking through a forest close to some lonely houses.
The first question the authorities asked them was if they were Muslims. After the respondent confirmed, they told them:
“We don’t like Muslims”
The same officer then struck the respondent. After that, the authorities ordered the group to move closer to the main road, according to the respondent, so that everybody that was passing by could see what was happening. The authorities told them to wait in a line and undress. The men were standing only in their underwear, although it being nighttime and extremely cold outside. Moreover, the authorities ordered the men to hand over all their money and their belongings. However, when some of the group members refused to obey they were struck in reaction to that. The police took 120 euro, phone, power bank, lighter, along with all the other things in his backpack from the respondent.
“They took everything from me and my companions.”
Afterward, all of a sudden, the respondent recalls the police started to scream at them: “Look down, the head down!” The respondent estimated that the authorities did not want them to see their faces, so they could not identify them, while they were talking between them. Unexpectedly, the authorities started to strike the men, while they were still standing in a line looking onto the ground, as previously ordered.
As the respondent explained it, every officer struck all of the eleven people that remained in the line, one by one. The respondent describes that at that moment in which he got struck by each officer after another, in his head, he was doubting that he was an actual human being. He described that the authorities were sticking them very violently, also hitting them on their faces.
While they were striking them, they were shouting at them. Although the respondent did not understand what they were saying, he estimates that they were insulting them.
After this severe violence, the respondent realized that his nose was bleeding a lot. Later, he learned that it was broken by the strokes of the officers (see picture). Another man of the group was left with a broken arm.
“They don’t care about the right to asylum.”
Afterwards, the men still only wearing their boxer shorts, had to wait for about one hour for a bus. The respondent underlines that his nose and mouth were still bleeding a lot. Finally, a minibus came to pick them up. But when he was on the bus, he had nothing to cover the nose so the blood was just dripping onto the floor. After fifteen minutes of driving, they arrived at the border, close to Velika Kladusa, and one of the officers told them: “You can run here.”
When they arrived in the city of Velika Kladusa, they were trying to find some people, because they needed clothes. Eventually, they found some Bosnians that gave them something to wear.
In this group of people that gave them clothes, one Bosnian citizen saw the respondent and called the ambulance. Some minutes later the ambulance came and they brought him to the hospital. But once they arrived at the hospital, the doctor told him “I can’t touch you, you don’t have the ID card of the camp.” He replied: “I’m human, please.” But the doctor answered “No.”
Then, the ambulance brought him to the Miral Camp in Velika Kladusa, where he tried to get in and, finally, after some hours of waiting they let him in. From the camp, another ambulance transported him to the hospital in Bihac, where a doctor took care of him.