After crossing the border from Velika Kladusa to Croatia, in an area known to the interlocutor as ‘buzum’, the respondent and his group were stopped by the Croatian police officers who were wearing ‘black black’. These officers spoke to the group at 11 or 12 at night. The police hit the respondent, and said: “if you go inside this farm, I’ll fucking kill you […] this here is my land”. The respondent observed, “we don’t have any power here, he can kill us [like] nothing”. The police then let the group continue traveling towards Zagreb.
In Zagreb, the group was trying to buy sim cards. They were stopped by ‘normal police’ (‘one young man, one old man, and one girl’) who spoke to them. One police officer asked the group if they knew where they were, and the respondent replied ‘yes, we know, we are in Croatia, what is mean that?’. The officer then said “Croatian people don’t need migrants, we don’t want to see you in my land”. At this point, the police took every person’s mobile phone and money, putting them into plastic bags. The respondent does not know how much money was confiscated in total, but he had €800 confiscated personally, and he said that other people had between €700 and €1000. After taking the money and phone, the police slapped the respondent. Then, they checked in people’s pockets to see if anyone was hiding their phone or money.
Then, police in a silver Ford Ranger came, which the respondent identified as the “boss” of the first, “normal police”. Then all 12 people on the move were handed to a transport van, which left the group back at the Bosnia/Croatia border.
The respondent described the transport van as a ‘small car’ which, according to the description of the respondent may be the Fiat Doblò Cargo high-roof station wagons. They were sitting “top top”, one on top of the other. They were transported with the air conditioning on so that it was cold inside. The group did not know where they were dropped off, but it was around 20 km away from Velika Kladusa. When the group was dropped off, they asked for their possessions and money to be returned and said it was not right for the police to keep these things. At the border, each person in the group was taken out of the van one at a time. The police took their jackets, bags and sleeping bags, along with anything left in their pockets. At this point, a police officer brandished a pistol, and said “go!”. The respondent said, “The police run for us […] they wanted to shoot us; we were running”.
After this interaction, the respondent went to see the doctor. This is always necessary because he has had a chronic problem with stomach ulcers since he was a child. After being kicked by the police, his ankle was swollen. His leg was already injured at the time that the police kicked him. He had blisters on his feet. This was exacerbated by the damp conditions.
“These people if they caught you, they don’t take you for the police station like that”