The respondent, 21 years old from Algeria, was apprehend by the police near Gevgelija, North Macedonia, on the 17th of August 2020. It was the second time he was trying to cross the border. On this occasion, at around 12:00 am, 6 officers caught the respondent and three other people (aged 21-30 from Algeria and Syria); they started shooting the group with guns in order to stop them. During this exchange, officers did not show the group-members any badge or announce themselves as police officers. According to the respondent, they were wearing plain clothes: shorts, t-shirts, and bullet proof jackets with no particular signs or flags on it. These men were speaking English to the group and among each other.
After catching the group, the officers ushered the group into a green Land Rover and went around for about 4 hours. The respondent described that during this time the (alleged) police did not go to any direct destination – they spent that time having coffees etc, leaving them inside the car and under the sun with no water, food, or access to toilet.
After this considerable time, the officers brought the group to the Macedonian-Greek border, in between Gevgelija and Idomeni, and kept them for about 1 hour on the border. During this time, the respondent described that the officers were physically violent with them, beating them with batons, destroying their mobile phones, stealing their money and personal belongings (sleeping bags) and taking videos of the group-members.
During this time, the officers did not ask for any administrative or personal information from the group-members, such as their names or intended destinations. Rather, it was all described as a clandestine and informal process.
The respondent was also pushed on the ground with bounded hands behind the back and he was kicked violently by two persons. Several days later, he still had severe pain on the back that he was not able to dress and undress on his own.
After that time, the police opened a “door” along the border fence between North Macedonia and Greece, making a line out of the group-members and let them go through, beating them again as they were passing through to the other side.
The respondent then took a train from Idomeni and arrived in Thessaloniki.