“The men were refused water and were only allowed food if they paid €2”

  • Date and time: February 20, 2020 05:00
  • Location: Alexandroupoli, Greece
  • Coordinates: 41.625268, 26.56536999999999
  • Push-back from: Greece
  • Push-back to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 40 person(s), age: 16-35 years old , from: Pakistan, Morocco
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Police officers wearing balaclavas and black uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee, denial of medical support
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: Philoxenia

Original Report

The respondent attempted to cross the Turkey-Greece border on the 19th of February 2020. The respondent is Moroccan and 16 years old. The respondent was travelling with his friend who was male, 23 years old and also from Morocco. The respondent and his friend arrived at the Greek border city of Orestiada where they bought a bus ticket to Alexandroupoli (GRK).

The transit group took the bus to Alexandroupoli but were unable to buy another ticket for onward travel because they had run out of money, hence they began walking out of the city. Approximately 10 kilometres away from Alexandroupoli (GRK), the respondent’s friend fell over and injured his foot. Unable to continue, the respondent and his friend sought help from three male police officers. This was at about 16:00 in the afternoon on the 19th of February.

The police officers took the respondent and his friend to a police station near Alexandroupoli (GRK) which the respondent described was only for migrants and was ‘very old’. In the police station, the men were refused water and were only allowed food if they paid €2. The police officers bandaged the injured foot but did not offer the respondent’s friend any additional medical care. The respondent was kept in detention for nine hours

At 05:00 the following morning (20th February 2020), the respondent was driven from the location by Greek authorities and five officers wearing black uniforms and balaclavas pushed the respondent and his friend back to Turkey. The officers brought the respondent and his friend with a group of approximately 40 other men from Pakistan and Morocco between the ages of 25 and 35 years old to the Greek side of the River Evros (border between GRK and TU). The officers asked all the men where they were from and their ages as well as taking all of their phones.

The officers in balaclavas pushed the group across the River Evros in one boat. The respondent explains that conditions were ‘so cold’. After the respondent reached the Turkish border city of Edirne, the respondent and his friend were stopped by Turkish army. They were kept in a camp in Bosna,close to Edirne (TUR) for one night. The respondent’s fingerprint and photograph were taken. The respondent explains that some of the people at this camp were punched by officers.