On October 14th 2019, a group of three people in transit from Syria, aged 17, 26, 27, were stopped by five police officers in Preloka (SLO) shortly after crossing the border from Croatia.
Three of the officers in Slovenia were wearing blue uniforms. Two officers described as Slovenian border officials were wearing all black uniforms with the emblem that the respondent described as a “serpent or a cobra” on the upper arm sleeves.
The transit group were brought to a police station at 14.00 and detained there for approximately nine hours with no food or water.
The respondent was given a document which asked what the group’s destination was. The respondent said “Slovenia” and the authority writing the document instead wrote or typed that the group’s intended destination was “Croatia.” The respondent expressed intent for asylum by saying:
“I want asylum in Slovenia,”
But the officer upon hearing this replied:
“No, no asylum for you here. You go back to Croatia.”
The respondent did not understand everything that was written on the document and was not provided a translator. At approximately 23.00, the respondent stated that Croatian Intervention officers from came to the police station in Slovenia to transport the group out of the country.
The transit group were driven into Croatia, the respondent stated that they were not taken to a police station. When the group were in Croatia the respondent again said, “I want asylum.” The respondent clarified his requests, stating:
“I want asylum in Croatia.”
What was described as a special police officer in all black told him:
“Go to camp in Bosnia.”
They were transported in a police van that the respondent described as feeling more like a “box” because there was no air circulating and the temperature was extremely hot. All three of the group members reported vomiting while in the van because of the poor air quality and the officer’s reckless driving. One respondent claims he vomited four times during the drive. The group in transit was driven in the van for approximately two hours, bringing them to the border with BiH in the early hours of the morning.
The group was commanded to exit the van one by one (at approximately 01:00 on 15th October 2019). Outside of the van was a total of what was described as eight Intervention Officers forming a narrow corridor with four officers on each side. Six of the officers appeared to have arrived in a second police van according to the respondent. The officers were described as “Commandos with cagoules” (the respondent described the officers in big police jackets which he stated had the Croatian flag sewn on the sleeve arms.)
As the respondent exited the van he reports being hit by the two officers closest to the van, then passed down to the next two officers who were standing across from each other. This pattern continued until the respondent had passed through the corridor of all eight officers who each took turns hitting the respondent with their fists. The other two members of the group then endured the same violence as they too exited the van and were beaten through this corridor of officers.
Once all three men in the group were outside of the van the respondents report being ordered to undress, and their clothes and shoes were thrown into a pile. An officer lit fire to their clothes and then another officer used a “large piece of iron” to break all three of their phones.
The officers used batons to hit the respondent “everywhere” and was reported to especially target his back by delivering more blows from the batons at this part of his body. According to the respondent, one officer stomped on the respondents’ feet repeatedly with his heavy police boots.
The minor in the group was “kicked like a ball” and one officer hit him on the back and knocked him down onto the ground, then proceeded to kick the minor in his side (torso). The group was then forced to cross the border back into Bosnia wearing only their underwear, and having been severely beaten.