“Everywhere on your body they can hit you”

  • Date and time: February 18, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Dilofos/Kemal
  • Coordinates: 41.68984910601, 26.386639930225
  • Pushback from: Greece
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 60 person(s), age: 16-48 , from: Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, sexual assault, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 4 or 5 officers in Greek police uniform, 4 “masked men”, 1 white van, 1 Greek police car; 5 officers in green trousers and black jackets, 2 in civilian clothes, all wearing balaclavas; 1 big green military truck driven by 2 officers in green uniforms; 4 “masked men” and 3 officers in green camo uniforms, 2 in civilian clothes with balaclavas
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent is a 48 year old Moroccan man. Together with a group of five other men he crossed the land border between Turkey and Greece, crossing the Evros/Meriç river. After 11 days in Greece, while walking at the age of a forest next to a road, the respondent and three others were apprehended by Greek police. The two others had been left behind and were apprehended two days prior. The respondent cannot give more details on the location of apprehension as he was not the one who had been carrying the phone and checking the map.

A total of eight or nine police officers apprehended the group of four shortly after sunset. They had arrived in two vehicles. One of them was described as an white van similar to a Renault Trafic, the other an official Greek police car with the blue stripe and Greek police logo.

4 or 5 of the officers were wearing police uniforms. The respondent is not sure of the color as it was dark already, but he is sure they had police written on their backs. The other 4 were wearing black clothes without any insignia and balaclavas.

The apprehension was violent. The respondent describes the officers beating him and the others with their hands and batons as well as kicking them with their knees and feet. When asked which areas of the body the officers aimed for, the respondent replied “everywhere on your body they can hit you”.

The officers in Greek police uniform proceeded to frisk the group and took their phones and money from them – the respondent had 150 Euros stolen. Afterwards, the “masked men” searched the group again and this time took most of their clothes as well. The respondent and his companions were left only in their boxers.

The group was loaded into the van and driven to a detention site. The drive lasted around 40min. When they arrived at the detention site, the group was frisked once more. At the detention site there were also other groups gathered and being searched, including women. Both women and men were frisked by male officers.

The detention site was described as a building surrounded by a fence and trees with other buildings closeby. 

When asked if they asked for asylum, the respondent explains “we couldn’t speak, they will slap your face if you do. One of my friends refused to take off his clothes, so they started beating and kicking him.” 

After this third search, the respondent and the others were taken into a cell. It was approximately 3 by 3 meters and crammed with people. The respondent estimates that there were a total of 60 people inside. Nationalities included Syria, Afghanistan, Morocco and Algeria. Most of the people were in their 20s. There were also five Syrian women. The eldest person was 48 years old. No kids were present but some minors.

The respondent was detained in that cell for two days. Throughout this time, none of the detainees received any water or food or medical care. They had access to a toilet but the respondent says it was so dirty and stank so badly that most people refused to use it.

After two days, five officers entered the cell. Three of them were wearing green army trousers and black jackets, two were wearing civilian clothes, all five wore balaclavas.

All of the 60 people were taken out of the cell and taken to a truck. The officers kept randomly beating everyone on the way from the cell to the truck and while the group was embarked. 

The truck was described as a big green military truck. All 60 people were loaded into it. The drive lasted around one hour and the driving was described as reckless. 

They arrived at the river in a forest. There were two men who had been preparing the boat. They were wearing civilian clothes and balaclavas. Another seven officers were present, some of them wearing black clothes and balaclavas, some wearing green camo uniforms and balaclavas. With the driver and his partner as well as the two people preparing the boat, a total of 11 officers were present at the pushback site.

The group of 60 was lined up and divided into groups of 8 and embarked on the boat which was an inflatable boat and around 2m long.

In the middle of the river, they were ordered to jump into the water.