The group of six young men had been walking for one week in the woodlands of Croatia. On Sunday evening, on September 9, 2018, they were stopped by two officers wearing black uniforms that they described as Croatian officials. They walked around a parked car towards the group of six while shouting at them to stop. The group complied and waited as the officers searched them and took their belongings.
An estate vehicle arrived and was used to transport the six individuals for approximately 10 km to a police station in the suburbs of Rijeka. At the station, they were brought to an office and each was ordered to sign a deportation paper, including names, ages, nationalities and a photo of their faces. The six of them asked for asylum in Croatia and asked the officers to make an application that evening. But they just replied:
“You can ask for asylum in Zagreb, but we are not in Zagreb.“
They were detained in a cell for around two hours before being driven five hours back to the Bosnian border. They travelled in the back of what they described as an estate car with no light or adequate ventilation. Already tired from walking, the confinement made the group feel very sick.
Eventually, they arrived at a rural border area which they knew to be the area of the Croatian border opposite to the Bosnian town of Poljana. Four officers were waiting there in sky blue shirts. The officers took them out of the van and told them to walk towards Bosnia. When they asked about their phones, the officers replied by taking a bag containing the devices and broke them in front of them with a baton to smash the screens. Then the phones were returned and the six individuals returned to Bosnia.