“We didn’t run away from them because we knew if we ran they would beat us. One of the police officers he kicked me.”

  • Date and time: May 11, 2021 22:00
  • Location: Gevelija, North Macedonia
  • Coordinates: 41.128447982923, 22.516381116568
  • Pushback from: North Macedonia
  • Pushback to: Greece
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 20-29 , from: Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: kicking
  • Police involved: at least 6 Albanian police officers in blue uniforms; one Tunisian translator in civilian clothes; 6 officers in army clothes and with balaclavas; two vans with police written on the side; two big grey or blue army cars;
  • 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?: Yes
  • Reported by: Wave - Thessaloniki

Original Report

The respondent, a 20-year-old man from Morocco, was pushed back from North Macedonia to Greece on approximately the 11th of May.

The respondent was riding in the back of a truck into North Macedonia together with four other men. All of them were Moroccan. The respondent was the youngest member of the group, the oldest member was 29-years-old. After the truck stopped in North Macedonia close to Skopje, they walked through a fruit plantation and eventually arrived in an urban area close to a train station.

The fruit plantation through which they walked.

Here they tried to get a taxi. When they tried to get a taxi, they were caught by the police. Five police officers arrived in two cars. They were all wearing blue police uniforms and the respondent described them as North Macedonian police officers. The cars were vans with ‘Police’ written on the sides. The respondent said:

“When they go out of the cars, they just start holding the batons to beat us, but we didn’t move, we were calm, so they didn’t beat us, they thought we were going to run or so.”

The group was taken to a police station by car. The ride took about two hours. The respondent says that when he asked why they were brought there and what would happen to them, one of the police officers kicked him.

Another police officer at the police station was friendly with the group. He told them that his parents were from Albania and he provided them with a sandwich and allowed them to smoke. They waited at the police station for about two hours and were then driven to a small camp at the border. This ride also took about 2 hours. There, the group was made to give fingerprints and pictures were taken. The respondent said that a woman was present that the respondent describes as a Tunisian translator. She was not wearing a uniform. She asked them questions about how they got there, who showed them the road and why they were here.

The respondent said they were asked if they wanted to return to Morocco but they were not allowed to apply for asylum. The procedure at the small camp only took approximately 15 minutes. They were the only group present at the camp. After the procedure they were again loaded into cars, this time in cars that the respondent described as big army cars in dark blue or grey colors. They were seated on a wooden bank. Six officers that the respondent described as wearing army clothes and balaclavas brought them to the border fence. This ride took about 10 minutes in which they did not follow bigger roads but took a path through the forest. They arrived at a gate in the fence. The officers opened the gate and told them to go to Greece. The gate in the fence was located approximately 50 meters west of the train track. On the map, the respondent indicates that the pushback happened in the area of Idomeni.

Since by then it was approximately 10:00 pm at night, the respondent and his companions spent the night in the area and then came to Thessaloniki the following day.