On the 28th of June 2019, the respondent aged 47 from Algeria left Edirne, Turkey at 21:00 by foot to enter Greece, with three other people, one from Algeria while two others from Morocco. The transit group managed to cross the fence at around 22:30. While scaling the fence, the respondent felt that there were some chemicals on the fence which caused the group members body to become itchy. After entering Greek territory, the transit group walked for almost 40 minutes in the direction of Greek-Bulgarian border.
Afterwards, the group took some rest in a nearby forest and then continued their journey. They kept on walking for five nights while resting during the day time. On the 3rd of July 2019, at around 11:00 in the morning, in a forest near a road (see map below for approximate location), the group was caught by the officers in green uniform whom the respondent termed as “police”.
“They arrived in two vehicles with four policemen. One was a White Nissan Pickup while the other one was a jeep”.
Police searched the bodies of the transit group and subsequently handcuffed them. Afterwards, they were transferred in the White Nissan Pickup’s trunk and were transported to a building with two very dirty rooms having an attached small toilet which respondent termed as “a jail in a police station”. The room in which the transit group was put had six people including children and women from Iraq, Syria and Somalia. Meanwhile the respondent states that another room held approximately 40 people and most of them from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The group was detained for almost five hours and at around 19:00, four officials wearing a military uniform with their faces masked came whom respondent termed as “Greek Military” personals. The military personnel, along with some Greek policemen, put all the detainees of both rooms in a police van.
After 1.5 hours of driving the police van reached a place which respondent termed as a “camp” where more people were loaded into the van. According to the respondent they were not allowed to get down from the vehicle while more people were forcibly put into the vehicle.
At this stage the respondent termed the behavior of the authorities as inhumane, because they were beating people to get inside the vehicle despite the fact there was not enough room available. Once all the people were inside, the vehicle started moving, now also escorted by two police vehicles. One from the front while the other one from the back.
At around 21:00, the group reached a place near a river where they were asked to get down. Here they saw two wooden motor boats which were used to ship the people to the other side of the river. With 10 people boarded on each boat accompanied by two military personnel, the transit groups were dropped at different spots on the Turkish side of the river. Thus, all the people were pushed back to the Turkish side from Greek territory. Once they were all in Turkey, the military personnel fired in the air to alert the Turkish authorities. Soon Turkish authorities, which the respondent termed as Turkish military, arrived at the scene and arrested all the people. However, some managed to flee. The respondent and his friend were among the ones arrested.
According to the respondent they were taken to a police station in Edirne where their personal data was taken along with photographs. Afterwards, they were moved by the Turkish authorities to Istanbul where they were released.