“They take off my shoes then all the rest of my clothes and they let me naked”

  • Date and time: March 4, 2021 00:00
  • Location: Kastanies/Pazarkule
  • Coordinates: 41.6454869, 26.4764421
  • Pushback from: Greece
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 22-27 , from: Tunisia
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), threatening with guns, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 2 green-military clothed greek officers, 1 civilian clothed, balaclava wearing arabic officer, 4x4 white vehicle with no police markings, dark blue/black marked police car, 2 police in blue uniforms with ‘police’ on it,
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent, a 22-year-old Tunisian man, was apprehended by three Greek police officers near Nea Vyssa at night. He had climbed the new fence and crossed the land border from outside Bosna, Turkey to Greece with a group of five other Tunisian men, aged between 22-27, but only the respondent and his friend were caught as the others managed to run away. They had walked for 5km before they were apprehended. The area where they were caught was described as “open agricultural land” near a road where there were some trees.

They were apprehended by three officers. Two officers werewearing plain green military uniforms, but “not like the normal military uniform (referring to camouflage uniform) and there is some word written on his arm and on his back”. The respondent explained that he could not understand what was written. When asked if there was anything indicating that they were Greek, the respondent replied “the flags were cut out and removed from their arms”. The third officer was wearing civilian clothes and balaclavas, speaking fluently in Arabic in what was thought to be a Syrian accent.

This Arabic speaking officer started asking the respondent and his friend who brought them from Turkey to Greece and if there was anyone here that they were coming to meet. The respondent explained that him and his friend came by themselves and they did not know anyone. When the respondent told him that he came by himself, the officer hit him over his knee. He used a baton to hit him. The Arabic officer meant to hit him on his leg, while the two other military clothed officers watched, holding guns. The officer then walked the respondent to his car and hit him with a baton again.

They were put in a 4 x 4 white car with no marking suggesting it was a police car. Later a police car came which had ‘police’ written on it. This car was dark blue or black, but the respondent was not sure as it was dark. Two more officers were in this car that were wearing blue uniforms with ‘police’ written on it. These officers were also wearing balaclavas.

The officers cut the respondents bag with a knife, took his jacket and forced him to take off his shoes. He was also forced to take off the rest of his clothes. “They let me naked” proclaimed the respondent. While the officer was checking his clothes, he found the money the respondent had hidden in it.

The officer said to the respondent in Arabic “you have more money?”, the respondent answered with “no”. The officer hit him on his head and on his back. In total, the officer took 100 €, his phone and all of his belongings. Of which, none was given back to the respondent.

The respondent asked for asylum. But the officer did not talk to him, instead spoke to the other officer in Greek. They put the respondent in a car alone and his friend in the other car. The respondent could not see anything out of the car as they put a “black thing on the window to not let me see anything”.

The driving was erratic and fast, resulting in the respondent colliding with the side of the car. He was not sure exactly where they went, but the journey took about 15 minutes in total from the place of apprehension to where they arrived. Then they stopped the car, and forced him out of the car. He found himself at the fence he had climbed earlier. The respondent describes being ordered to walk “through a big door” and says the first thing he could see after walking for a bit was a “big light” as he approached it. There were some other lights of some houses nearby too. When asked for more details and shown pictures of the Kastanies/Pazarkule border crossing, he confirms that he was pushed back there.

 

Source: Josoor – view of the big lights described, from the suburb of Karaağaç.

After having pushed him back, the Greek officers kept turning their car light on and off, most likely to alert the Turkish army. Turkish soldiers came, caught him and took the respondent to where he found his other friend. The Turkish authorities did not hit them and let them go.

From here, they made their way to Edirne which took about 3 to 4 hours after walking 10km to 15km.