The respondent is a young man, 19 years old from Pakistan. He and a group of about 20 people from Pakistan and Afghanistan were sleeping in a forest close to Croatia, some kilometers away from a road crossing. They wanted to cross the road at 1 o’clock in the morning on 17 May 2021.
At 1 o’clock authorities apprehended them. The officers were wearing black uniforms with their faces covered with ski masks. During the apprehension, the respondent was looking down at the ground constantly, in fear to attract the officer’s attention if looking up. The officers took all the belongings of the people, which included phones, power banks, backpacks, sleeping bags, and shoes. They were stuffed into bags and later given to further authorities. The respondent states on the topic of the theft of their personal belongings:
“Who not give and after hitting. So now every people scared and all people give.”
The group was told to get in line and follow the officers to the closest road crossing. There a white van was approaching the group, driven by two other authorities. They were wearing blue uniforms, with the writing “Policija” on them.
The group of twenty people was told to go in the back of the car. Some could sit but the majority had to stand due to limited space. During the following two hours long drive the people experienced severe coldness due to the AC that was turned on, inside the back of the car. Further, many of the group had to vomit due to bad driving.
In the morning at 3-4 o’clock, they arrived at what the respondent describes as a police station. The two officers driving the car were the only people present at the station. The group had to enter a cell in which they would wait until the evening. The respondent recalls that it was a container-like cell, with no windows. There was no translator present, food and water were denied and they had no access to a toilet or any sanitary facilities. To the question whether they asked for asylum the respondent said:
“No asking for asylum, because who is talking to police, and police understands this is English, after they too much hitting these guys. Asking: ‘who is your boss? Where do you come from? Who give you this location?’ Every people scared and say they don’t understand English.”
At around 5 pm, the group was told to exit the cell and enter another van which was driven by two different officers. Again, there followed a drive shaped by bad air conditions and bad driving which caused many people to vomit. This drive lasted for about three to four hours. At 8-9 pm in the evening, the car approached the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the respondent recalls. Three further authorities were awaiting the vehicle. They were dressed in black uniform, wearing ski masks and carrying batons. When the people exited the car, they were told to get in a line and cross the border one by one. The before-taken belongings were burnt on the spot by authorities. From the point where the group had crossed the border, they walked without shoes for five hours to reach the closest city of Bihac.