Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A man kept as a slave on a farm for over a year only escaped when his captors thought they had beaten him to death and threw his body in a ditch.
Rasim Cuforvic, 37, from Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for a job at the farm in Draganic near Karlovac, a city in central Croatia in April 2016.
But he was locked up and beaten, and forced to work and he only escaped at the end of 2017 after a particularly violent beating in which they thought that he had died, and so they threw him in a ditch.
However he was not dead, and half-naked had went to a nearby property where they called an ambulance, and he was taken to Karlovac General Hospital.
Medics said they were shocked at the appalling condition the man was in, with numerous injuries both old and recent all over his body, a fractured forearm and teeth that had obviously been violently knocked out.
His lower jaw was also broken and needed to be fixed with surgery, a fingernail had been pulled out and he told them wounds on his hands and feet had been caused by hammer blows.
The images of the man as he was before he was kidnapped and forced to work as a slave and how he appeared afterwards has shocked the country, and now he has spoken about how after he was freed he had been offered welfare from the state but had not found a home yet.
Tracked down by local media, he thanked the young woman journalist for being interested in his case and added: “Ma’am, I don’t have any accommodation right now, I’m struggling to concentrate on anything. I do feel healthier but my nerves are in shreds.”
He said he was currently living in a shelter in Croatia and that he would like to get a job but he does not feel well enough. He said: “I still have nightmares about what happened. It’s my nerves, they are ruined.”
Rasim, who reportedly has a learning disability, which is why his captors thought they could get away with it, said he had not wanted to discuss what happened because he wants to forget things, but hoped that by speaking out it would put the spotlight on the fact that he did not have a house, or suitable employment and struggled to deal with the nightmares.
The family that abused and enslaved him where arrested and charges where filed but the trial date has still not been set.
When Rasim was asked if anyone had contacted him from the Karlovci Municipal Court in Croatia, where the trial of his abusers should begin, he stated: “Nothing, ma’am. Nobody called me, I have not made any statements, nothing.”
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