“He told me no Romania, no Bulgaria, no Germany, no Europe and spit on my face and tell me go back to Turkey”

  • Date and time: January 16, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Malko Tarnovo/Şükrüpaşa.
  • Coordinates: 41.961925926909, 27.51097126709
  • Pushback from: Bulgaria
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 36 , from: Tunisia
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 10 officers dressed in Green uniforms, 3 in blue uniform and yellow vests, 7 in black clothes, some with green jackets, all Bulgarian; dark truck with box inside
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Unknown
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent, a 36-year-old male from Tunisia, reports being apprehended in Bulgaria near Burgas, after crossing from Turkey. The respondent was with one Afghan man and two Tunisian men at the time of his apprehension. The respondent explained that the officers that caught them, of which there were 10, were dressed in dark forest green uniforms, “like guard uniforms”. The respondent was the only one to get caught as the others ran away before they were apprehended.

The respondent reports that these officers did not take any of his personal belongings, but took him to a building of the traffic police in handcuffs. The officers described as traffic police officers were wearing blue uniforms and yellow vests. The respondent was detained in a building next to a road, it was very cold. In this building, the traffic police officers reportedly took the respondents phone, his power bank, cigarettes and the €375 he had on him. The respondent explained that the officers spoke to him in Bulgarian and English.

One of the officers said to the respondent: 

“No Romania, no Bulgaria, no Germany, no Europe and spit on my face and tell me go back to Turkey and was yelling on me and I didn’t understand what he was saying”. 

He was detained for approximately an entire day. While he was detained, he reports that he was not given any food or water. He explained, “I did ask them because I was so hungry and thirsty, and they didn’t give to me”. 

The respondent also explained that he did ask for asylum but he was told: “no asylum in here, go to Turkey”. He reports that the officers subsequently hit him very hard with a baton and kicked him with their feet. “They were wearing that big military shoes” the respondent recounted, “they broke my ribs”.

After the sun had set, in the evening of the same day, another car came and the respondent had to get in. He reports being beaten while doing so. This car took the respondent to another detention site. He explained that there, he was put into a small space, which he described as ‘tight’. There were 5 officers dressed in black uniforms, with some wearing green jackets. 

The driving in the car was “crazy” and “so reckless”, “from time to time my head hit the truck roof and they kept checking on me from the window of the driver and the back truck”. The respondent claims that he was not given a translator when he could not understand what was being said. It took about an hour until they arrived at this other detention site. The officers reportedly proceeded to beat and humiliate him for a while – the respondent cannot recall for how long – before he was handed over to another car.

The officers also searched the respondent and forced him to take off his pants, jackets and shoes, which were all checked thoroughly. The officers then ripped his jacket and one of them asked “where is the money?”, to which the respondent replied that it was taken by the officers in the first truck. This vehicle was the same type as the previous one. The respondent is not sure of the colour but it was dark, either black or dark green, and had “a small box inside” which he was put in, which he reports could fit a maximum of three people at one time.  

The respondent describes that this truck had two officers dressed the same as the men in black with green jackets. The officers drove the respondent for 30 minutes until they stopped. The respondent remarked the driving was reckless again.

When they arrived at the place, near Malko Tarnovo, the respondent reports being pulled from the truck and hit “everywhere” on his body with batons. He states that he was forced to take his shoes, socks and jacket off even though it was raining and very cold.  The officers opened the door in a fence along the border and the respondent was reportedly hit over his head and twice on his back with a baton and told to “go to Turkey” by the officers.

The respondent was then pushed into a dry drive where he explained he was winded from the force with which he was pushed. He walked for about an hour until he arrived at  Şükrüpaşa.