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"You can not seek for asylum here!"

Date & Time 2021-12-10
Location near Ponikve (8261 Slovenia)
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 45.847557, 15.6410573
Pushback from Croatia, Slovenia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age unknown
Group size 5
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken, papers signed, forced to pay fee
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unkown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), threatening with guns, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 4 Slovenian officers, number of Croatian officers unknown, all officers described as wearing "blue uniform"

The respondents are two approx. 30-year-old men from Afghanistan. Both explained they had worked for the U.S Military in the past. They report that, on 11th October in the evening, they crossed the border from Croatia to Slovenia with a group of 5 people and walked to the small village Ponikve (8261 Slovenia). The group was composed of 4 single men and 1 minor, all from Afghanistan. After that, they were caught by what they described as 4 Slovenian police officers, wearing blue uniforms. However it is important to note that the respondents stated they had flags on their uniforms that they could not identify, so the assertion that they were Slovenian police officers cannot be independently verified. The respondent stated that the officers slapped them in the face and forced them to sit down. One person asked to go to the toilet. One of the officers reportedly pointed his gun at him and said: “Go to pee but if you run I´ll shoot you!”

Around midnight the group was transported to what was described as a police station, where they reported that they expressed their wish to seek asylum. One police officer  reportedly answered: “You can not ask for asylum here!” and “Maybe you will go to prison”. The respondent reports that they had to sign papers. A translator (Pakistani) was there but, according to the respondents, they said to “just sign” the papers. The respondent stated that one man had to pay 480 Euro in the police station for illegally crossing the border.

After signing the papers the group was reportedly handed over to what the respondent described as Croatian police in the early morning. Again, this assertion has not been independently verified. According to the respondent, they were detained in a “detention center” for approximately 13 hours which was approximately 1 hour away from the border by car.

At 6 o´clock in the evening of the 12th October, all 5 men were pushed back to what was referred to as the “Bosnian Jungle”. The officers, previously described as Croatian, confiscated their belongings (phones, clothes, money). The transit group were reportedly beaten with sticks. The police officers were described as wearing blue clothes and balaclavas. One respondent described the actions of the police as “worse than the Taliban”.

After being pushed back, the group walked through the Bosnian woods until they reached the town of Bihac.