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They will accommodate you in the camp' - From Trieste to Velika Kladuša

Date & Time 2020-09-20
Location Velika Kladuša Croatia/Bosnian border
Reported by Independent person
Coordinates 45.18694694, 15.78153792
Pushback from Croatia, Italy, Slovenia
Pushback to Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 28 - 28
Group size 6
Countries of origin Pakistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of food/water
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used no violence used, beating (with batons/hands/other)
Police involved Italian police with blue car and Italian army with a truck

The respondent in this case shared that a group of nine people from Pakistan (included 3 minors) left Bihać at the beginning of September and walked for 12 days through Croatia and Slovenia.

They arrived in Italy around the area of Basovizza on the 17th of September (approximate coordinates 45.643790, 13.861410). The group were intercepted by the Italian police (with a blue car) and the Italian army (with a green truck). The capture occured on a road near Basovizza. The army vehicle had text printed on it saying “Strade Sicure”, signifying that it is part of the operations on the Slovenian border organised for the detection of transit groups.

Photo taken by the local newspaper displaying one of the military vehicle (Source:Trieste Prima)

The respondent reported that the transit group was then taken to the Fernetti police station (coordinates 45.700283, 13.831111), where they were held for six hours without food nor water by the Italian authorities. 

Here, fingerprints of the members’ group were taken, and the group was asked to sign several documents. The respondent affirmed that he asked the interpreter the meaning of these documents that were being signed, and the interpreter replied they were papers for the asylum request, and not related to the readmission procedure. He further said that they would be accommodated in a reception camp, stating:

The papers you are signing are about asylum, they will accommodate you in the camp

The Italian police, the respondent said, held respectful behavior, providing them with face masks for Covid-19 preventive measures and not practicing any physical violence. “They were good”, according to the respondent.During the procedure, the interpreter, together with a police officer present also asked the respondent who had guided the transit group.

The group stayed together in the police station and, after a medical screening the Italian police removed the majority of them and drove them away in vehicles. Of the nine captured people, three were kept in Fernetti – these being the three minors in the group. The other six were driven from Fernetti to the Italian-Slovenian border and removed across the border.

The respondent reported that the group was held in Slovenia for three days: the first day in a police station, then, the other two days, in a Slovenian detention center. At the Slovenian police station, they were asked to sign several documents, but were not issued copies. Following this they were held in a detention centre, and after two days removed to Croatia. The Slovenian authorities delivered the six men to the the Croatian police (dressed in green), who then proceeded to load them on a white van.

The Croatian officers then drove the transit group on the 20th September to the border with Bosni-Herzegovina. At the border there were nine officers waiting for the group. These individuals were armed with batons and covering their faces with ski masks. The officers took the transit groups clothes and shoes and set them on fire. After that, the officers beat the group and pushed them back in an area close to Velika Kladuša, in Bosnia-Herzegovina.