On 22nd November 2019 at 16.30 two young Algerian males, ages 16 and 20, were apprehended in Kastav (HR). They were part of a larger transit group that had walked for twelve consecutive days. The two people, seperated from the group to enter town to buy food, which they had not been able to do since seven days prior.
The local stores were closed so the respondent approached a private home and knocked on their door to ask for food. The homeowner answered and asked the 2 people to wait outside. The respondent could see that the man was making a phone call and he later inferred that he was calling the police. The homeowner returned with bread, butter, and milk. They were speaking outside of the home when two Croatian regular police in navy blue uniforms and one Croatian police car appeared at the site.
One officer asked the respondent, “Where is the rest of your group?” The respondent stated that they were the only two traveling together.
“I know where my brother is but I am scared to tell them.”
The rest of the group in transit, including the respondent’s younger brother, was sleeping at an undisclosed location nearby but the respondent refused to give information about the others in his group because he feared something bad would happen to them. Consequently, the respondent was separated from his younger brother who is a minor and they have not been reunited since.
The respondent was taken to the police station in Rijeka (HR). At the police station the respondent was asked for his personal information and when asked for his age he said, “I am 17.” The Croatian officer responded, “You are not a minor.” The respondent expressed intent for asylum but was told no. They were detained at the police station for three hours.
At about 20.00 (22nd November 2019) the group was transported in one Croatian police van allegedly with 25 people who were mostly from Syria and Pakistan. The group was pushed back to a wooded location about five kilometers from Velika Kladuša at approximately 23.00. Eight or nine Croatian police in black uniforms formed two lines to create a tunnel at the rear door of the police van. Officers ordered the respondent to exit the van and all individuals were beaten with batons as they exited. All persons on the move were forced to remove their shoes and jackets and officers then confiscated their bags. Clothed, the transit group were then ordered back into BiH.