On Saturday 11th April 2020, at around 06:00, a transit group encountered approximately 12 authorities whilst walking along the Vardar River, in the region of Geveglija (MNK). Three of the officers were described as ‘cargol’, dressed in black with their faces covered by masks. The other officers were either also masked and wearing police uniforms or were dressed in camouflage and unmasked. Upon confrontation the transit group, comprised of nine Moroccan men between the ages of 23-53, attempted to run away.
“six of them get beat of the police and catched”
The respondent described how three of the group-members managed to escape whilst the officers beat the remaining members of the group with batons all over their bodies. The respondent described being beaten so badly that he was unable to walk properly.
- Image of respondent’s bandaged foot after treatment from a medical volunteer in Thessaloniki
After the incident, the officers placed the transit group in a blue van and drove them approximately 15 minutes to what the respondent describes as being near the official border crossing of Borogoditsa (MNK). The officers then released the transit group by opening the “door” of the border (gate in the fence) for the group to cross. The respondent said that as it was early in the morning there was not many border guards around, which he insisted, enabled the transit group to avoid interacting with any Greek authorities. During the push-back, the officers did not offer access to a translator, medical assistance, or take note any of the transit groups’ details, nor did any member of the transit group request asylum.
Once in Greece, the transit group decided to travel back to Thessaloniki (GRK) by train. The following day, the respondent was treated by a volunteer from Medical Volunteers International who provided him with crutches to prevent further damage to his foot.