“I don’t want to remember all what I been through”

  • Date and time: January 2, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Dilofos/Kapikule
  • Coordinates: 41.6919001, 26.3778852
  • Pushback from: Greece
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 40 person(s), age: 15-50 , from: Palestine, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 7 Greek police officers in blue uniform, 1 truck that resembles transporting animals, 3 Syrians wearing civilian clothes, 10 Greek officers in green camo uniforms
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent is a 36 year old woman from Morocco. She recounts a violent pushback from Greece to Turkey that happened to her on January 2nd. She explained that she was caught, along with two others including a minor, on a highway in Greece, about 2km outside of Orestiada. It was just one Greek police officer in blue uniform who apprehended them at about midnight and he threatened them with a gun.

The officer took the respondent with the two others to a detention site in his police car. The journey took 15 minutes. The detention site was described as an old building that was not clean. There were three officers at the detention site, and another three came later. They were denied water and food throughout the time they were detained. The respondent explained that she was not hit but she was incredibly afraid of what would happen and that she was humiliated by the officers at the detention centre. There were other people in the detention site – Syrian, Palestinian, Moroccan and Tunisian, including two minors aged 15 and 16.

The officers took everything the respondent and the two others had, including their money, phone and even medicine, even though the respondent disclosed to them that she has anemia. Though the respondent and the others asked for asylum, the officers refused, even to the minor.

The respondent explained that she was searched initially by a male officer, but then the male officers called for a female officer who took all of the respondents clothes off. The male detainees were beaten by the officers in the detention centre, but the respondent and her two companions were not. However, the respondent was denied her medication and though she repeatedly asked, she was not allowed to take them. 

From the detention site, they were taken in a truck to the Evros/Meriç river, where the actual pushback occurred. 40-50 people were put into a truck from the detention site and driven for around 20 minutes until they arrived. The respondent described the truck as closed, with no windows, so it was difficult to breathe. The truck resembled something that would be used to transport animals.

Three men working with the Greek officers spoke Syrian Arabic. They were wearing civilian clothes and balaclavas. These three Syrians boarded the truck with them and later on were the ones driving the boat.

When the group arrived at the river, 10 officers wearing green camo uniforms and balaclavas were waiting with a plastic boat already prepared. The boat, however, was not inflated very well so the first group of people were taken across the river, the second was struggling already and the third group sank with the boat but managed to make it to the other side wading through the river. The water reached until their chest.

The location of pushback was close to Kapikule, approximately 18km from Edirne.