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“They tortured us”

Date & Time 2021-05-03
Location Near Batrovci, Serbia
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 45.055147, 19.101393
Pushback from Croatia, Slovenia
Pushback to Croatia, Serbia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 22 - 23
Group size 3
Countries of origin Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 11
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings
Police involved 7 slovenian male officers with dark blue uniforms, 1 slovenian female officer, 1 croatian blue van, 3 male croatian officers with black uniforms and ski masks

The group, composed of three people from Pakistan, aged between 22 and 23 years, reached the Slovenian Border Crossing ‘Obrežje’ (location: 45.845944, 15.694012) on 4th March at around 9pm.

Reportedly, they had entered in a truck somewhere near the Serbian village Šid,  during the night of 3rd March. The respondent described that three Slovenian male officers wearing dark blue uniforms were present when the group was first detected at the border crossing. When they were apprehended, the people on the move were ordered to follow the authorities into a closed space, described by the respondent as a “room” near the truck scanner, where four Slovenian male officers and one Slovenian female officer were present. 

As soon as they entered this room, the respondent explained how he was pushed onto the wall, forced to stand while the Slovenian authorities struck each of the group members on their backs with batons and some kicks. The respondent estimated that the beating lasted for about 10-15 minutes. Subsequently, the group was ordered to sit down. According to the respondent, they waited for approximately 3 hours sitting in this room without permission to talk. 

Thereafter, the group walked with the Slovenian authorities for some minutes until they reached the Croatian ‘Bregana’ Border Crossing (location: 45.841994, 15.699752) at around 00:30am (on 4th March). There, the group was forced to enter into a blue van where they were traveling for about 3-4 hours. 

It was around 4:30am on 5th March when the group members were ordered to exit from the vehicle one by one at a spot close to the ‘Bajakovo’ Border Crossing (approximate location of the spot: 45.055147, 19.101393 ). At that moment three Croatian officers were present, who were described as wearing black uniforms and ski masks on their faces. Once the group was out of the van, the authorities compelled them to hand over all the properties they were carrying.

At this location, the respondent explained how they were also forced to undress, taking off all clothes but the underwear. He highlighted that it was really cold that night. Therefore, according to him, the fever and weakness he felt some days after would be due to forced exposure to hard weather conditions. 

“They (the Croatian officers) told us to remove all the clothes. We were almost naked and it was so cold.”

Immediately after they undressed, the authorities made a fire, where all the group’s clothes were thrown into, together with their mobiles, money, and bags. The respondent estimated that they remained at the spot for approximately 30 minutes.

He described later that he experienced the treatment by the Croatian authorities as torture. He recalled something similar to a very small room or a cell at the spot where they exited the vehicle or near the spot. Reportedly, each member of the group was ordered to enter into that closed space and was then beaten in there.

The respondent stated that each member was struck with a baton by a different officer for a time that felt like 10 minutes to him. More particularly the respondent complained that he felt severe pain in his stomach reportedly caused by the punches of the authorities. The respondent about the authorities:

“They tortured us”

After they crossed the border, the group reached a safe place somewhere close to the Serbian village Šid in the morning of the 5th of March. The respondent still described feeling very sick with fever and cough until the week after the push-back.