“They immediately beat us with a baton and told us ‘no asylum in Bulgaria, Bulgaria problem.'”

  • Date and time: August 17, 2021 00:00
  • Location: From Brashlyan, Bulgaria to Çağlayık, Turkey
  • Coordinates: 42.0463736, 27.4281008
  • Pushback from: Bulgaria
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 20-28 years old , from: Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 2 police officers dressed in dark blue pants and shirts with “Police” written on their back and a Bulgarian flag on their arms talking Bulgarian with each other and a little bit of English to the respondent; 2 deep green Nissans; 6 police officers dressed in green shirt with “border police” written on their backs and the Bulgarian flag on their sleeves
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent is a 28-year-old from Morocco who experienced his fifth and most recent pushback from, Brashlyan, Bulgaria to Çağlayık, Turkey.

 On the 17th of August at around 10 am, the respondent, his wife, and one other man – all from Morocco and between 20 and 28 years old – walked around 40 kilometers from Edirne, Turkey towards Hamzabeyli, near the Turkish-Bulgarian border, to cross from there.

Once they entered Bulgaria, they continued walking for two days, resting for just one hour along the way. On the 19th of August, at around 10 am, all three of them were apprehended by two male officers. They had taken a bus from Malko Sharkovo, but after 25 kilometers the bus stopped for a police control, at which time the respondent, his wife, and the other man were taken off of the bus.

The two police officers were dressed as shown in the picture below, in dark blue pants and jackets with “police” written on their backs. A Bulgarian flag was visible on the sleeves.

(Image 1 and 2: uniform of the two General Directorate National Police (GDNP) police officers near Sharkovo

Image 1
Image 2

They spoke a little English with the group but mostly spoke Bulgarian to each other.

After waiting for two hours, a deep green Nissan – which looked like the car in the picture below – arrived.

Source

Four officers arrived in the car, though only two of them got out. These two were dressed in green shirts which had “border police” written on their backs and a Bulgarian flag on their arms. The respondent later confirmed that the uniform and insignia were the same as the images below:

Details of the border uniform
Bulgarian border police insignia

The male officers searched the group, took their phones and a total of about 200 euros. They also searched the respondent’s wife and touched her in private areas. The other man who was traveling with them was hit by the officers with a black plastic police baton for about five minutes. They stayed at this spot, which was in a forest near a road, for around two hours.

While they were detained, the respondent, his wife, and the other man asked for asylum, but he said, “They immediately beat us with a baton and told us ‘no asylum in Bulgaria, Bulgaria problem.”

Then, the group was loaded in the Nissan’s trunk, which measured around one square meter. As the trunk was enclosed on all sides, it was very hard for them to breathe properly. They were driven for one to two hours in a fast and reckless manner along half paved and half unpaved roads until they arrived at the border.

There, another deep green Nissan was waiting, which the respondent said was the same as the car that brought them. Two officers were there as well, dressed in the same green uniforms as the ones who drove them there. The respondent identified the uniform as the same as the one below:  

 

Details of the border uniform
Bulgarian border police insignia

The officers started beating and kicking the respondent and the other man with a baton. The respondent’s wife was not beaten but was searched by a male officer. At around 2 pm, the officers opened a garage-like door in the border fence, through which the group was pushed back.

Once in Turkey, they walked for approximately three kilometers and then took a taxi to Edirne, which drove for about one hour, or around 120 kilometers, and passed by Kırklareli.