“He said: I was crying and I can’t breath.”

  • Date and time: August 21, 2020 02:00
  • Location: on the North Macedonian - Greek border close to Gevgelija
  • Coordinates: 41.12986907136511, 22.53555516252162
  • Pushback from: North Macedonia
  • Pushback to: Greece
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 16-24 , from: Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), pepper spray
  • Police involved: 4 North Macedonian policemen
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Anonymous Partner

Original Report

On the evening of the 21st of August, a small group of persons from Algeria and Morocco (aged 16-24) entered into North Macedonia on foot from Greece near the border city of Idomenia. The group entered into the country with the intention of continuing on their journey towards Serbia. Only a short time after crossing the border however, around a kilometer, the group was approached and apprehended by four male North Macedonian police officers. The respondent described that it was around 2:00 am when they were first apprehended.

According to the respondent, the officers were physically violent towards him and his fellow group-members. Reportedly, the officers sprayed all of them in the eyes with a chemical agent, likely pepper spray, and struck them once with batons. After this initial exchange, the authorities did not ask any administrative or personal information from the group-members, and instead began an immediate and informal push-back of the group.

Under the threat of force, the officers led the group for around ten minutes back towards the border from which they had came from. When the reached the border, the officers ordered the group to walk back into Greece, which they did without further incident.

After returning over to the Greek side of the border, the group collected themselves before deciding to return to the Greek city of Thessaloniki.