This is the second time the 26-year-old respondent has been pushed back, see testimony 1 for a report on his first pushback experience.
The events that took place follow a similar pattern to the first pushback. The respondent crossed the river at 6 AM and was part of a transit group of 4. He said instead of waiting until nighttime, they decided to continue the journey in the morning. Before reaching the main road with the bridge, the group were apprehended in a big field. According to the respondent, there were shots fired in the air and they heard someone shout “stop, stop”. He and the group stopped immediately and said they were waiting to be apprehended. The respondent said there were 4 men dressed in green military-style uniforms with the Greek flag on their arms. As with the first pushback, their possessions and clothes were taken. The respondent said he was beaten in his leg which caused a blue bruise and also in his hands.
The transit group were then taken to the same detention site as the first pushback the respondent had experienced. Here they were searched again and the respondent said that they were “lucky” and didn’t have to stay so long in detention, approximately 4 hours, because “there was lots of people there”. There were reportedly 60-70 people detained here, a mix of Algerian, Syrian, Tunisian, Iraqi, and Kurdish people, but no women.
The respondent could not recall the exact time they left the detention site but said they were transported in two trucks in the morning and when they arrived at the river there were 10 men described as wearing dark-green uniforms with Greek flag insignia and balaclavas. Everyone who had been detained was searched again at the river and the respondent said there was “one guy who have some money and he didn’t want to give it” and that the officers “beat him very good” with a baton.
Similar to events that took place at the river in the first pushback, the respondent explained that there were two Syrian drivers who took people in batches of 7 across the river. He said that the Syrian men “are everyday there because they are working with them”, referring to the Greek authorities. When asked if they crossed the same river crossing as before, the respondent said it was different and that “every time they change points”. The river crossing took an estimated 10 mins, and when they reached Turkish land, the Syrian drivers returned to Greek territory. The respondent said that they were in a big forest and walked for about 700 metres when they heard cars approaching on the main road. He further added that it was Turkish authorities in a small car and the transit group were afraid they would be caught and put into a camp so they split up and hid in a village until they saw a taxi driver which took them back to Istanbul.