The respondent is a 23-year-old man from Iraq. He was apprehended in Greece after walking 40km from crossing the Evros River on the 31st of December, 2020. He had previously crossed the border close from Uzunköprü. He was caught along with a younger child, who was 6 years old, as well as some women and older men.
They were apprehended by 4 officers, who were dressed in military camouflage uniforms. The respondent explained these officers kept hitting them, including the women, with short batons until they arrived at a detention centre.
When they arrived at the detention centre there were 6 officers waiting for them, and the respondent explained more came as well. From here, they were taken to another place of detention in a car which was described as a greyish-white truck with no windows, and only had one door to get inside. It took them a 30 minutes drive before they arrived. The people inside, including the respondent and the women, were hit by the officers when they got out of the truck. The officers took all of their money, phones, and passports.
The women too were searched by male officers, forcibly taking off their jackets and they “touch their bodies”, as explained by the respondent. There were 30 other people at this place, mostly Iraqi, Syrian, Tunisian and Algerian, amongst other nationalities. There was a small toilet inside the room they were kept in, but they were denied food and water. They were detained at this place for about 12 hours. The respondent explained there were “too many people” in it.
All of the detainees were then taken to the Evros/Meriç river in trucks. The respondent explained there were at least 30-40 people in his truck. The drive took about 30 minutes. There were several other officers at the river, wearing black balaclavas as well as military uniforms (as the previous officers were). The people that drove the boat were identified as speaking Syrian Arabic, not Greek. The officers that took them in the car to the river were identified as Greek.
There were several women and children included in the 30-40 people. The officers continued to beat them all with bigger batons this time. Several individuals among the group repeatedly asked for asylum but they were continually ignored. The people were loaded into boats, about 10-11 at a time. As they were put in the boat, the officers were hitting everyone to get in.