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If I know they want deport me, I would say: Shoot me, kill me, finish. I don’t need this life.

Date & Time 2021-10-14
Location Ponikve, Slovenia
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 45.8451382, 15.6375941
Pushback from Croatia, Slovenia
Pushback to Bosnia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 20 - 35
Group size 9
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 12
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 5 Slovenian policemen - 4 wearing uniform, 1 without uniform; 2 Croatian policemen in uniform, 5 Croatian policemen from the Interventna Jednica Policija, 2 private cars, 3 unlabeled prisoner transport vans

The respondent is a 35-year-old man from Afghanistan who reports that he used to work for NATO between 2007 and 2010. Two months ago he decided to leave Afghanistan, as the threat by Taliban in his village strongly increased. Some of his former colleagues and friends have been killed by them.

The respondent reported that, on the 14th October 2021 with a group of four other Afghan men between 20 and 35 years, he crossed the Croatian-Slovenian border by walking through the mountainous forest area west of the Croatian city of Bregana at night. After several hours of hiking in the dark at very cold temperatures, the group decided to take a break at the Slovenian village Ponikve. According to the respondent at around midnight, a small private car approached them. Two policemen described as wearing Slovenian police uniform and a third person without a uniform held the group on the spot; shortly after, a second police car arrived which was described as an unlabeled prisoner transport van. Inside the van, there were two more policemen in Slovenian police uniform. 

The group was brought to a Slovenian police station that was, according to the respondent, nearby. The respondent does not recall exactly where since he was not able to see anything from the van. There he reports that the group was locked into a small room, where one policeman entered and asked the people if they had money and how much. The respondent stated that he had 500 Euro. The others said that they did not have any money. After examining the other four, the policemen reportedly took the 500 Euro of the respondent. According to him, the policemen justified taking the money by saying that this would be a charge for crossing the border. After this, pictures and fingerprints were taken of every person in the group as well as personal data. The respondent described an exchange in which the policeman wanted to keep his ID, but after a long discussion he handed it back again. After, the people had to sign different documents which the respondent reports were written in the Slovenian language. The group asked for a translation or a translator but both requests were denied by the policeman. According to the respondent, the people were offered food and drinking water and were allowed to go to the toilet during their detention. 

In the evening (around 7 pm) of the 14th October 2021, the respondent reports that the group was picked up at the police station by what were described as two Croatian policemen. Reportedly, the group had to go in what was again referred to as an unlabeled prisoner transport van and was brought to a police station in Croatia. The respondent said, that the drive took approximately one hour from the first police station. When they arrived at the Croatian police station, he reports that the group was locked into a small room again. In the middle of the room, there was a free-standing toilet with a little sink. When the group asked for food and water, the policemen reportedly denied the request. Again the people had to sign different documents which were written in the Croatian language – the request for a translation or a translator was denied. After the documents were signed, the policemen took away the phones of every person in the group and kept them – the phones were not given back to them. Furthermore, pictures were taken of the five men as well as their data being collected. 

After four hours of detention, at around 11 pm on the 14th October 2021, two policemen who were identified by the respondent as members of the Croatian Interventna Jednica Policija (IJP) picked up the group. They were reportedly forced to enter what was described as a labeled prisoner transport van, where four men from Pakistan were already being held. Approximately two hours later (at around 1 am on the 15th October 2021) the group reportedly had to leave the van in a forest at the Croatian-Bosnian border region. The respondent does not recall the location since he could not see anything from the van, he reports the reasons for this are that it was night and their phones had been stolen by the policemen before. However he reports with certainty that the group was pushed back out of Croatia towards Bosnia. When the 9 people left the van, there was a second car – described as a private vehicle with three more policemen who he reported to be members of the IJP, as well. All five policemen were described as wearing black uniforms and black balaclavas. One policeman reportedly pushed the people to move forwards and shouted at them that they should run. The four others were reported to be standing in a line, shouting at the people and beating them with their batons as the people ran past them.