“At the police station, the policemen took fingerprints and photos of the respondent and, using an interpreter from Jordan, asked about his information. He was told to return back to Thessaloniki.”

  • Date and time: August 4, 2019 00:00
  • Location: Gevgelija Train Station, Macedonia
  • Coordinates: 41.144165, 22.511828
  • Push-back from: North Macedonia
  • Push-back to: Greece
  • Demographics: 30+ person(s), age: respondent 45 years old , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: Macedonian police (undisclosed number) and Macedonian army (2 officers)
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Mobile Info Team, Philoxenia

Original Report

The respondent, aged 45 and from Algeria, attempted to travel to North Macedonia alone on the 3rd of August 2019. The respondent took the train from Thessaloniki, Greece to the border of North Macedonia. The respondent recounts how there were approximately 20-30 people that he thought to be from Pakistan who were also on the train he took. Arriving near to the border of Greece with North Macedonia, the respondent walked on foot along with this group and several others.

The respondent walked along with three Afghani men at the back of the group. As the group entered North Macedonia, they paused and waited for further transit by train to Serbia. The group of men waited for the train, however the train did not arrive when expected.

The respondent explains that they waited at a train station till the next day (4th August 2019) when a train arrived at approximately 04:00. However, this was not a passenger train, but rather a train composed of shipping containers, so the men were unable to board the train. Together with the Afghani men, the respondent decided to walk to Gevgelija train station, in order to continue his journey.

The respondent recounts that as the transit group entered the train station, they saw two Macedonian army officers and the Afghani people ran away. The respondent was left at the train station where he was discovered by one army officer. One of the other officers chased after the three Afghani men. Meanwhile the remaining army officer asked the respondent for his information, his phone and money. The officer searched the respondent and his belongings. The officer did not take his money as it was only 10 euros and the respondent did not have a phone to give.

The respondent was arrested along with a transit group from Bangladesh that were also trying to cross the border at this train station. The group was handed over by the army to the North Macedonian police. The respondent explains that the North Macedonian police were wearing dark blue uniforms, however as it was the respondents first time in North Macedonia he was not sure about the details of the clothing or the attire of the police officers.

The transit group were taken to a police station where the police officers took fingerprints and photos of the respondent and, using an interpreter from Jordan, asked about his information. He was told to return back to Thessaloniki, Greece. The respondent tried to ask for a car or a truck that would take him back to Greece, however, he managed to board a train back to Thessaloniki train station. The respondent did not ask for asylum whilst he was in Macedonia and explains that there were no beatings or violence. However, the respondent did stress that the officers seemed ‘disgusted’ with him.