The respondent of the testimony described hiding at the top of a truck in the Port of Patras on March 29th. The truck went on board a SUPERFAST ferry leaving from Greece around 5.30 pm.
The ferry arrived the next day in Bari, Italy at around 9 am. As the truck left the ferry, the respondent was spotted by Italian police. The police officers arrived from both sides of the truck: two men on the right, a man and a woman on the left (all aged around 35-40 years). The respondent, who had not slept during the night and did not have any food or water during his whole journey, began to feel ill as the police officers began to shout at him in Italian, urging him to come down. He was then beaten by two of the male officers: each one gave 2 or 3 kicks to the abdomen, back, and face of the respondent. He fainted because of the stress and the physical exhaustion.
The respondent woke up at the Bari police station. He was not provided with a translator at any point, despite the fact that he speaks very basic English and has no notion of Italian. The police took his fingerprints and wrote down his personal information (name, birthdate, height) from his Afghanistan ID. Only one water bottle was given to him. After that, a police officer explained to him that they were going to take him back to Greece. “Italy is not good for you” the officer said. When the respondent understood what was going to happen, he began to shout and to protest vigorously:
“I don’t want to go to Greece, I want to stay in Italy!”, but he kept receiving the same answer: “Italy is not good for you”.
The police finally drove him back to the Port of Bari around 4 pm (before the arrival of the first travelers), where they handed the respondent to the boat security of the ferry. Since he was physically and verbally reluctant to get into the boat, a security agent kicked him in the back to push him. The boat security confiscated his phone and put him in an empty cell on the lowest floor of the vessel.
The cell contained nothing but cold seawater on the floor, which prevented the respondent from getting any rest during the whole trip. Due to food/water deprivation and intense stress, the respondent was feeling ill and was almost unable to move.
“I was suffering from cold and hunger. Despite the fact that I hadn’t slept for 36 hours, I couldn’t find sleep because of the wet floor.”
Every hour approximately, the boat security went to visit the respondent to check if he was still conscious or if had passed out. He wasn’t offered any water nor any food.
When the ferry arrived in the Port of Patras around 1 pm on March 31st, the boat security gave him back his phone and handed him to the Greek police, which led him to the Commander House. He was locked in a cell there for approximately 1 hour and then released around 2 pm.