“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, sexual assault, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving, Invasive body searching
  • Police involved: Two officers dressed in dark blue pants and shirts with “Police” written on their back and Bulgarian insignia on their arms; two deep green Nissan vehicles; six officers dressed in green shirts with “border police” written on their backs with Bulgarian insignia 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 man from Morocco who experienced his fifth and most recent pushback from, Brashlyan, Bulgaria to Çağlayık, Turkey.

On August 17th at approximately 10 AM, the respondent, his wife, and one other man, all from Morocco and between 20 and 28 years old, walked an estimated 40 kilometres from Edirne, Turkey towards Hamzabeyli, near the Turkish-Bulgarian border.

According to the respondent, once they entered Bulgaria, they continued walking for two days, resting for just one hour along the way. At approximately 10 AM on August 19th, the transit group were apprehended by two male officers. The respondent recalled that they had taken a bus from Malko Sharkovo, but after 25 kilometres the bus stopped for police control and the transit group was subsequently taken off the bus.

The two officers were described as wearing dark blue uniforms with “police” written on their backs and Bulgarian flag on the sleeves, which is consistent with the General Directorate National Police (GDNP) police officers. The respondent noted that they spoke a little English with the group but mostly spoke Bulgarian to each other.

After waiting for what the respondent estimated to be two hours, a deep green Nissan vehicle – which looked like the car in the picture below – arrived.

Source

According to the respondent, four officers arrived in the car, though only two of them got out. These two were reportedly dressed in green shirts which had “border police” written on their backs and a Bulgarian flag on their arms. 

Bulgarian border police insignia

The respondent recounted how the male officers searched the group, took their phones and a total of about 200 Euro. Furthermore, they invasively searched the respondent’s wife and touched her intimate areas. The other male transit group member was reportedly hit by the officers with a black plastic police baton for approximtaely five minutes. They stayed at this spot, which was in a forest near a road, for an estimated two hours.

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

The respondent recalled how the group was then loaded in the Nissan’s trunk, which he believed measured roughly one square metre. As the trunk was enclosed on all sides, it was difficult for them to breathe properly. They were driven for what the respondent estimated to be 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 vehicle was waiting, which the respondent said was the same as the car that brought them to the border. Two officers were also there, described as wearing the same green uniforms as the ones who drove them there. 

According to the respondent, the officers reportedly started beating and kicking the respondent and the other man with a baton. The respondent’s wife was not beaten but searched by a male officer. At approximately 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 kilometres and then took a taxi to Edirne, which drove for what the respondent estimated to be one hour, or roughly 120 kilometers.