“Push-back from Ancona to Igoumenitsa”

  • Date and time: May 24, 2020 04:00
  • Location: Port of Igoumenitsa
  • Coordinates: 39.48856310000001, 20.25966159999999
  • Push-back from: Italy
  • Push-back to: Greece
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 28 , from: Kurdistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground
  • Police involved: 4 Italian police officers; 1 army italian officer; at least 2 greece port police officers;
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

On Friday 22 May, the respondent described entering into a truck in Igoumenitsa, Greece which later entered inside a Minoas Line ferry which left the port in the direction of Italy very late in the evening. After 13 hours of travel, at which point it was May 23rd at around 11:00 am, the man arrived to the port of Ancona, Italy.

The port of Ancona, Italy where the respondent described being detained and subsequently returned to Greece

As the truck was passing the control checkpoint after leaving the ferry, a woman in a grey uniform discovered the man. The respondent was not able to identify what was written on the woman’s uniform. She then called three men over who, according to the respondent wore civilian clothes but carried themselves as policemen. It is inferred here that these were plain-clothes officers. These men were violent towards the man and started to hit him and pushed him on the ground. After that, the men brought the respondent into a nearby room which was “like a jail” according to the respondent. This room was still inside the port. This exchange occurred  around 1 pm. While detained, the men gave the respondent a piece of bread and some water.

The respondent – who does not speak English (the testimony was taken with the help of a translator) – told us that during his detainment he repeated multiple times with his basic English: “My family Rome, my family Rome, my family Rome”. There was not an official translator present at any point, therefore the police officers tried to communicate with him in English and Italian. The respondent mentioned during the course of our interview that he has wife and 3 years old child living in Rome, which is what he wanted to communicate to the officers.

After 1 hour spent within the room detained, Italian authorities came and brought him to a nearby office room “with computers” and forced him to give his fingerprints (10 fingers), took picture of his face, and as logged all his personal information: name, family name, father and mother name, date of birth, ect.

No translator came at this point and all this information was taken without the man’s consent. According to the respondent, no one mentioned anything to him about his right to claim asylum. Although he did not express the intention to seek asylum, he was constantly asking about rejoining with his family in Rome. The respondent told us he did not know what was going on during the entire process and he was scared but also that the police repeat many times to him “Ok, ok, no problem, no problem” and “Relax relax” during the procedure. At the end of the procedure he was forced to sign a paper in Italian, which he does not read or speak. He did not know what he was signing.

Afterwards, a police officer handcuffed him and brought him onto a ferry which according to the respondent, was part of the “Grimaldi” fleet. A police woman released his hands and closed him in a room which, according to the respondent: “..is the room where they locked illegal people”. He reported that while being led into the ferry, a person dressed in army fatigues was making fun of him, pointing at him, laughing, and repeating: “Greece, Greece”.

The respondent described being placed by Italian authorities on a Grimaldi Lines ship in Ancona and locked in a room as it sailed back to Igoumenitsa

According to the respondent, the ferry arrived to port of Igoumenitsa at around 4:00 am on Sunday the 24th of May. He was brought by a white van to an “investigation room” inside the Port Authority and questioned further (Igoumenitsa Port Authority S.A. Ladochori 461 00, Greece).

The port of Igoumentisa; The respondent described being taken off the Grimaldi Lines ferry from Ancona and brought by Greek authorities to the Igoumenitsa Port Authority building where he was assaulted while detained.
An up-close image of the Igoumentisa Port Authority building where the respondent described being detained upon his forced return to Greece

During this time, Greek police officers, abused him physically, forcing him to get down on his knees. They tied his hands behind his back and told him:

“If you stand up your head, we punch you”

When he was trying to wipe the hair off his face, a police officer was described as slapping him. The respondent states that the port police gave some documents to the other police, according to I. there was deportation paper from Italy back to Greece. 

Around 9 am on Sunday 24th he was released and he went back to the “Igoumenitsa jungle” pictured below.

Images of “Igoumenitsa jungle”, where people-on-the-move in the area stay