The respondent states that he was picked up by the police, early in the morning from his tent in Diavata camp, on Tuesday, 28 April, 2020. He was 19 years of age and he had set up a tent in the minor’s section, while, like many others, he was not registered in the camp. He was in possession of a valid “khartia” (informal term referring to the police note) when the police had taken him. His “khartia” is still valid at the moment of publication of this report.
The respondent tells how he was woken up by the police, picked up from his tent and shoved into a van together with ten other persons from the camp. He told the policemen, in the basic Greek he learnt, that he does not want to be deported. They reassured him that they will only issue him a new document. After a short ride, he arrived at a police station.
They didn’t take us inside, just outside, and they took our stuff and then they transferred us.
In the yard of the station, there were around 30 people who had been picked up from the camp. The policemen proceeded to performing body searches and confiscated all their belongings: phones, money, shoelaces, belts, and others. He states that the policemen were cruel and were hitting people. Ten minutes later, everyone was loaded into a bigger bus. The bus he describes was compartmentalized into different locked sections.
The bus drove for about three hours and a half the respondent estimates, but says he cannot know since he did not have his phone. They arrived at the destination and were told to wait in the bus. They were not allowed bathroom breaks. The group were unloaded from the bus and taken to the river bank. They were hit again while they were being loaded in boats. Asked if the policemen were hitting them for not obeying orders, he answers that they were hitting them randomly and that they hit him so many times over the hands that he sustained injuries to his wrist (pictured).
They were ferried to the other side of the Evros river in smaller groups in three boats, arriving into Turkey within one day of being picked up in Diavata. Describing the episode at the border the respondent stated:
“In ten minutes they took all people to Turkey. If I knew they were going to deport me, I would have killed myself.”