On the 16th of September an 18-year-old man from Afghanistan was pushed back from a location near the Italian border in Slovenia, back to Bosnia. He had originally started on this attempt from Bosnia with a group of approximately 65 people, all male with aged between 17 and 40 years old. They had walked for 17 days by which time the respondent and two of his friends had been separated from the larger group. They had ended up in a port city (presumed to be Koper, Slovenia) and had not eaten for three days. In Koper, they asked a local person for help who took them to his home and gave them food.
While they were eating, the local person called the police. Three officers who wore the standard blue uniforms of the Slovenian police arrived at the house and took the respondent and his two friends to a police station where they were kept for around 8 hours. They were given documents to read and sign, written in Slovenian and English. No translation was provided in the respondent’s own language, and no translator was offered. Fingerprints of each group-member were also taken in the station.
After some time, the group-members were loaded into a ‘white combi’ van with no windows – like a prison van – and transported back to the Croatian border. There were 5 people in this van in total (two other men from an unaffiliated transit group were also in the van with them) . The respondent described that it was very hot in the van during this time. Once they arrived to the Croatian border, they were transferred into the custody of Croatian authorities. The men were quickly loaded into another van on the Croatian side of the border and then driven back to the Croatian border with Bosnia.
When they arrived at the Bosnian border, the respondents described seeing what he believed were Croatian authorities who were dressed all in black with ski masks. There were 10 officers in total who allegedly called each person to come forward one by one. They beat each individual with a baton and also kicked them. The respondent showed the places on his body where he had been hit – his arm, his ribs and his leg. The officers took phones and money from everyone – 200 euros and 2 or 3 phones and then burnt the bags, clothes and shoes. “They took the shoes and even the socks!” They were then told to walk back to Bosnia. It took them 8 hours to arrive to Velika Kladuša.
“My mother, my family say money is finished. They are so unhappy. I am so unhappy”.