“Water? They drink water from the toilet.”

  • Date and time: April 23, 2020 14:00
  • Location: Drama detention center, Greece
  • Coordinates: 41.18745020276082, 26.3182820703125
  • Push-back from: Greece
  • Push-back to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 23 person(s), age: 29-47 , from: Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, electric shock, water immersion, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 15 greek officers, one van
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: Anonymous Partner

Original Report

In January 2020, a 29 years old man from Algeria was stopped by the police in the city of Athens for documents’ verification. The respondent had legal papers for remaining in Greece (he had been in the country for four years), however the authorities took his paperwork and brought him to a police station in Athens.

There he was detained for four months without legal process. The other prisoners (according to the respondent, many of which were from from Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) were held together in a small cell, had access to only one meal per day and did not have regular access to water, so that they were drinking water from the toilet. At that time, the respondent described that he almost committed suicide, but was stopped by a police guard. After four months, he was brought to the Pre-Removal Detention Facility Amygdaleza, in Athens, where he stayed for six days.

After this, he was transferred to the the detention camp of Drama for another six days. On the first day of Ramadan (23rd of April) at around 2:00 pm, the police came, took 23 people from Morocco and Algeria aged between 29 and 47 years of age, and put them in a large blue van with no windows (likely the riot vans used by the Greek police). After three hours in transit, the group arrived at the Greek-Turkish border, near Meriç.

There, the respondent described that group was led out of the van. Five Greek police officers – three male and two female – started beating them with batons, tree branches, fists, kicks and electric tasers. They also stole their money, food, bags, clothes, and phones. Everyone in the group was forced to undress – they were totally naked. The respondent states that some of the officers were wearing black clothes and others were wearing green uniforms; he inferred that this meant that some were from the police force and others from the army. He recalled that they were all speaking in the Greek language with each other.

After the beatings, the group was transferred over the Evros/Meric river into Turkey. This was carried out by a small dinghy driven by two men, probably from Pakistan, who put the persons’ heads in the water to threaten them. Once they arrived on the Turkish side of the border, the group was helped by some Turkish people, who accompanied four people from the group with broken legs and hands immediately to the nearest hospital.