The respondent in this incident traveled in a group of five Moroccans. The respondent stated he had been living outside of the formal camps in BiH for eleven months and this was his thirteenth attempt at crossing the border. He began his journey from Velika Kladuša (BiH) and walked for five days through Croatia, reaching the city of Rijeka (HR).
On 10th September, the respondents group walked through the forest and followed a river towards Rijeka. Here, they were stopped by nine Croatian police officers wearing all black clothing and black ski masks revealing only their eyes. One police officer took his gun from his side holster and pointed it at the men as he commanded the group, “Stop and sit.” The same officer then told the group,
“We are coming with an army and they are bringing more dogs.”
At the site of apprehension, one dog (of an unspecified breed) was present with the police force. The dog did not have a muzzle and was encouraged by the police officers to jump on the respondent’s body. The dog jumped up onto the respondents chest and snapped its jaws in the mans face. The dog did not bite the respondent or break skin with its teeth, but the dog did leave several scratch marks along the respondent’s forearms.
Then a police officer asked the respondent to remove his phone from his pocket. The same officer asked the respondent for his passcode and proceeded to look through the contents of his personal phone. The respondent was unsure of what the officer was looking for. The respondent asked for asylum at the point of apprehension and received no response from the officer who continued to search through his phone.
The police officers confiscated all five bags from the transit group and the all the items contained in them, including clothing and two wallets. The police removed money from the wallet then returned the empty wallet to the respondent. The money, totaling up to 55 euros, was put in the officer’s pocket. Shoes were removed by the officers from all five men. The five bags, clothing, and five pairs of shoes, along with several blankets were laid into a pile and then set on fire by the police.
The site of apprehension was by a river, and after the men had been stripped of shoes and jacket, one of the police officer pushed the respondent into the river. Some of the apprehending police officers left after this incident, and some others loaded the transit group into a van.
The group was transported in what the respondent described as one white police van. There were no windows on the van and the group experienced very reckless driving. The group was in the van for about 4.5 hours. The group was forced to exit the van in Maljevac (HR) near the Croatian-Bosnian border where they were ordered to walk back to BiH.