The two men walked together from Velika Kladuša (BIH) to Croatia in order to take a taxi from there, organised by a smuggler. While they were waiting for it, Croatian officers found them. They ordered them to sit down, insulted them and forced them to undress. Thereupon they were body searched and their personal belongings were confiscated.
“They told us to sit down, searched our bodies and stole our staff, my phone, money, passport, clothes. They got us naked and were kicking us from the back. They were telling us: “You don’t go to Europe, fuck you, go back to Bosnia!”
“They also took our Syrian ID and threw it away. I said to them that this was my Syrian ID, and the officers responded: “Fuck you and Syria.” I told him that I was Syrian Kurdish and that I did not want to cause any problems. But they just kept telling me to go”.
Afterwards, they were transported in a van back to the Bosnian border. Along the way the van stopped to picked up another group of people on the move. As they were now too many persons in the windowless backspace, they were lacking oxygen. The driver was driving very fast and aggressive. Even though they were initially picked up only a few kilometers away from the Bosnian border they drove around for three hours.
“They put us into the big van that was not open and did not have any windows. They told us to go into the car, and they were driving very fast and kept breaking, so I had a problem, I started being sick and vomiting. Maybe three hours, they were driving with us around. In one car, we were 15 or 20 people”.
As they arrived at the Bosnian border, the officers opened the door of the van and pointed a strong flashlight into everyone’s eyes, so they couldn’t see anything later. Then, the officers wearing balaclavas and black clothes, told them to exit the van one by one and individually attacked them.
“I could see nothing for five minutes I went out of the car because they pointed a torch into my eyes. Also, there was a hill by that border, and they pushed me down that hill. I could not see anything. And I was rolling down from that border. I go here for life not for money. I wanted to speak to them. When they realized that I could speak English, they told me: ‘You speak English? OK, come here.‘ And they started beating me. I said to the police that I did not want to stay there, that I just wanted to go. They just told me: ‘Fuck you, and go!‘ They had big metal sticks and were wearing masks. They hit me into legs, back, chest, and my face, they were also punching me and kicking me.”
“At the car, two police officers were beating us. When they finished, another two police were beating us. And one police was holding me and another was kicking me. But before they started attacking us, they pointed really strong torch into our eyes, so when I got out of the car, I could not see anything, Oh my god. And they just kept shouting: ‘Go, go, go, go Bosnia!‘.”
The officers were only attacking the men who were visibly older than 18-years-old and did not hurt the minors who were also being pushed back. At the end of the interview, the respondent said he didn’t want money or wealth in Europe, but he needed safety. Now, after the European Union closed its borders in front of him and violently returned people on the move to Bosnia, he is considering going back to Syria:
“If I have no problem in Syria, I would not go to Europe. I have everything I need in Syria. Just there is a war, and that is the problem. But maybe I don’t want to go to Europe anymore, I will go back to Turkey and from there to Syria. Police is very dangerous here because they treat me like I am dangerous, but I am not dangerous. But if I go back to Syria, I will have to join Assad’s army and yes, I will be made dangerous. Croatia is dangerous, so now, I will also turn into a dangerous person because I will have to return back to Syria and join the army for eight years and fight”.