The concerned group, consisting of ten young people from Pakistan had walked for two days on foot through the Croatian interior after initially starting their journey from Velika Kladusa in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On October 11, 2020 at 6:00 pm, they were reportedly approached by two male Croatian police officers wearing light blue uniforms. The location was probably about 10 kilometers into the Croatian territory, near the small village of Videkić Selo outside of Slunj (45.061204, 15.655583). The two police officers told the group to stop and sit down, which they did. The two officers then called for 4 other police officers to come and join them. Until the other police officers arrived, the group members had to sit and wait on the ground. When the backup arrived, they came in a large van. Reportedly, the group was put into the large white police van and brought to a nearby police station. Most probably the Cetingrad Border Police Station.
At the police station the members of the group had to wait for what they estimated to be four to five hours, during which time they were interviewed individually by the police officers. During the procedure in which they had to present themselves, they were interrogated intensively.
“They ask my name, my country, my mother’s name, my father’s name. They want to know everything.”
With the information received, the Croatian officers filled out “many, many papers” which the young people had to sign afterwards. Additionally, they had their fingerprints recorded into a computer and the officers took photos of each of them. The interrogation as well as all the documents were in English, there was no translator present. The minor from the group reportedly claimed to be 20 years old and therefore did not receive any different treatment.
While they were waiting in the police station, they were not provided with neither water nor food. Whereas they could go to toilet the respondent claimed:
“I didn’t want to ask them for anything. I don’t want to ask for water. I am understand directly that they not give food, no give water. They not help us.”
After the interrogation the people were put back into the van and driven back to the forest on the backside of the Miral-camp in Velika Kladusa, near the village of Šiljkovača (45.145861, 15.774097). When one police officer opened the van again in the Bosnian forest, the respondent described seeing six male police officers were wearing black ski masks. In the following moments, these officers forced the people to lie down onto the ground, lined up single file. “They told us to lie down as if we were sleeping, with the whole face turned to the ground.” The respondent claims that they were told not to look to the side. As soon as someone moved his head to either side, they got hit with a baton by one of the officers. “I also one time look to the side because my neck hurt very much and then he hit me onto my head.”
The respondent described that for around an hour, the people-on-the-move had to remain in this downward looking pose. One by one they were forced to get up, were struck by one of the officers and then had to lie down on the floor, back to the others, again. The respondent explains that the officers used batons, fists and their feet to strike the young men one after another. He himself was beaten by the officer several times all over his body, but mainly in the pit of his stomach and on his ribcage. “He hit me on the head, on the body everywhere. There is too much pain I have”.
After everyone was struck by the officers, and afterwards lied back onto the floor, they again had to get up one after another. This time they went besides and were there forced to undress and give all of their belongings to the officers. They burned their clothes and destroyed their phones. Whereas some of the group members were allowed to keep their shoes on, some were left barefoot. After they had burned the clothes of a man, they told him individually to go away before starting the same procedure with the next man in the file. “He was screaming to us: ‘Go! go back! I don’t like you. Fuck you. Motherfucker.’” The respondent described that after they had burned the clothes of the last one, the police officers started to run in the direction of the group members: “to make us go away. It was completely dark. We were in the forest, no light and no shoes and they run behind us […] they scream: ‘go,go,go.”
“This is not humanity. We are also humans.”