In the early morning hours of May 26th, at about 2 am, a group of five young Afghan males was apprehended by Croatian officers on a forest road between Lovas and Tompojevci, near the border with Serbia. There was one minor within the group, a 17-year-old boy, but none of the others was older than 20 years of age. The respondent stated that they were first spotted by 2 officers in civilian clothes, who used binoculars. He explained that the officers fired a couple of shots in the air and told the group to stop and lay down on the ground, then called for support. After about 30 minutes 3 police vehicles arrived: one van for transporting prisoners and 2 regular cars. There were 2 officers in the van and 4 officers in each of the smaller cars. They had their faces covered with black ski masks and wore dark uniforms.
The officers who arrived told the people in the group to hand over all their money and mobile phones. After that, everybody was searched and those who did not give their belongings straight away were beaten with police batons. Their shoes and bags were also taken from them and thrown away.
Then, the officers escorted the apprehended group to the van. The respondent stated that one person tried to escape and started to run, but the police caught him and hit him. All of the group was locked in the back of the van and when the car started to move the air conditioning was turned on, so the air in the back of the car became unbearably cold. After 20 minutes of driving, they were brought to the border crossing between Tovarnik and Sid.
They were let out in a field just on the border some 100 meters northeast of the road between Sid and Tovarnik. 6 officers formed a corridor, 3 officers on one side and 3 on the other side. The respondent stated that each person from the apprehended group was forced to pass through this corridor one by one while the officers kicked and beat them with police batons. Then they were told to cross the border to Serbia. They were threatened with death if they attempted crossing the Croatian border again. The respondent quoted one of the officers as threatening them, saying “Don’t another time come back. I kill you.”