A group of 50 men, mostly from Pakistan and just a bunch of them from India, started their journey from Bira Camp, Bosnia-Herzegovina on 22nd May. They crossed the Bosnian-Croatian border through a forest at the north-west of Bihac and walked for 10 days. 5 of them didn’t continue the journey after arriving in Croatia, so they were only 45 when arriving at the river Kolpa near Prelesje which marks the border between Croatia and Slovenia in the morning of the 1st May around 7 am. 20 of them managed to cross the river by walking through it, the other men stayed at the other side watching them. The respondent already arrived at the other side of the border when he saw one of his friends fighting with the strong current, sliding and finally falling. As the river was only about 0,5 m deep at this point of crossing but became deeper soon, the man was calling for help. There were some houses near their point of crossing and the inhabitant of one of the houses, a woman, witnessed the whole incident.
“The man was deeply in the water, and when this woman saw him, she called the police after 2-3 minutes.”
10-15 minutes after the woman’s call, 6 Slovenian police officers arrived in 3 vans and caught half of the men who had already arrived at the Slovenian part of the river. The others managed to hide behind some trees but were soon found by the 2 dogs that accompanied the officers.
“Two police officers told us to lay down on the floor in the forest.”
25 remained in Croatia while the Slovenian police officers alerted their Croatian counterparts while catching the group in Slovenia, so that the Croatian police officers arrived after 10-15 minutes and stopped them as well.
After that, on the Slovenian side of the river Kolpa, the Slovenian police officers told the group to go into the 3 vans (6-7 individuals per van) and body searched them superficially before letting them enter. They group was transported to the police station in Novo Mesto where they were again body searched, this time more intensely by letting them take of all their clothes staying just in underwear, taking all their phones and money. They had to indicate their names, dates of birth and nationality and give fingerprints of their right index. The respondent had to pay a fine of 250€ for illegaly crossing the border and had to sing a document in Slovene without translation indicating that he payed 230€. There was no translator present and they were interrogated by two police women, the respondent describes them as “one lazy blonde woman and one healthy woman with muscels and black hair”.
They stayed in this first police station until 8.30 pm, during their detention they were given some chocolate and biscuits, water was provided as well as access to toilets. They were then brought to another police station where they were scanned with a metal detector before entering, were given food and spent the night.