“Police take me back Greece and what I do? I stay in border...sleep and rest and I try again at night”

  • Date and time: June 4, 2020 13:00
  • Location: near Ponçarë (ALB)
  • Coordinates: 40.52736021693904, 20.98541221702854
  • Push-back from: Albania
  • Push-back to: Greece
  • Demographics: 15 person(s), age: 20-50 years old , from: Syria, Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 4 police cars and 15-20 officers; 3 police cars and 6 officers
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Wave - Thessaloniki

Original Report

The respondent spent ten days attempting to cross the ALB-GRK border; he was pushed back a total of five times during this experience.

“Police take me back Greece and what I do? I stay in border. Stay all day, sleep and rest and I try again at night”

The following account details the one of these push-backs which took place on 4th June 2020 at approximately 03:00. The respondent was walking through a mountainous region near Koshnicë (ALB) when he noticed a bear; the respondent ran away from the bear and was blinded by police headlights.

“I go police, its better than it eats me, this animal”

The respondent indicated the use of thermal cameras, night vision goggles or some similar equipment by the officers and described them as having

“something to see you at night, to see your blood”

The respondent alleged there were roughly 15-20 police officers with four vehicles. After his arrest, he was taken to a camp which he thought was near the village of Ponçarë (ALB). At the camp the officers took his fingerprints and photograph, and later provided him with food and water. At approximately 13:00, the responded was placed into a car with three Algerian men and one man from Morocco. They were driven to the ALB-GRK border and pushed back (exact location unknown). The respondent alleges two other cars full of transit groups were also pushed back at the same time; a group of four Moroccan men in one and four Syrian women with two small children in the other (a little boy and a baby whose gender is unknown). The respondent reported that a total of six officers were involved in the push-back, with two officers in each car.

Following this push-back the respondent made several attempts to re-cross the border before returning to Thessaloniki (GRK) to recuperate. The respondent said that during these multiple push-back’s, the officers asked him to unlock his phone so they could access and photograph the route he planned to take.

“they [the officers] take money from these people and take these people from Albania [to push them back to Greece]”