“I asked for the simple thing to give me back my medicine and they didn’t - you think they will give me asylum?”

  • Date and time: February 12, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Tychero/Balbancik
  • Coordinates: 41.032877797358, 26.339881871777
  • Pushback from: Greece
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 17 person(s), age: 14-53 , from: Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: eight officers in Greek police uniform and two police cars, one Renault Trafic (unmarked), one female officer in Greek uniform, three officers in black clothes and balaclavas
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of food/water, denial of medicine
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent is 28 years old and from Morocco. Together with five other Moroccans,  all male and between the age of 20-50, she was apprehended in Kavala by eight police officers in Greek police uniform who arrived in two cars. The officers searched the group and took everything from them: their phones, their supplies, and “even my medicine since I have blood pressure problems I asked him to give me my medicine, but he didn’t care and said no.” 

The group was then ordered to embark a Renault Trafic van and driven to a detention site in a small village. The drive lasted around 15min. The respondent could not see much of the detention site but recalls that it was “surrounded by a fence and there were only containers around it, no buildings”.

Once they arrived at the detention site, the whole group was searched. A female officer took the respondent, who was the only woman of her group, into a small room, took all of her clothes off and “searched me very well”. The men were being searched together with others from a group that had arrived shortly before the respondents group.

The respondent and the rest of her group were then all taken into a cell which was approximately 3x1meter wide. There were 17 people inside, among them one other woman and her small kid of about four years as well as a physically handicapped man. The nationalities were Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine and the age range between 14 to 53. 

They spent approximately six hours there. All this time, they did not receive water or food. The respondent asked for her medicine and food: “I was calling them because I was so hungry but they didn’t care and they told us ‘give us 4 Euros and we give you a sandwich’, but they had already taken all our money from us”. 

After around six hours, the officers came and ordered the whole group of 17 to leave the building and enter a military truck which was green and covered by a tarpaulin. Everyone was getting beaten with batons while they were embarking. 

The respondent recalls the driving being very reckless and on a non- paved road. It lasted about an hour.

They arrived at the Evros/Meric river. There were three other officers waiting there: “they don’t talk, they only beat you to not make sound”. 

A boat was ready, all 17 were embarked at once. They were not taken all the way to the other side. About 20m before the Turkish shore, the group was ordered to jump into the water. 

On the Turkish side, the first village they encountered was Balbancik close from Ipsala. 

When asked if she had asked for asylum, the respondent replied “Yes but they refused even to talk to me. I asked for the simple thing to give me back my medicine and they didn’t – you think they will give me asylum?”