“We needed to run in the forest and through the river and we had to hide.”

  • Date and time: November 24, 2021 00:11
  • Location: Close to Korca
  • Coordinates: 40.622677396847, 21.056934717636
  • Pushback from: Albania
  • Pushback to: Greece
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 19 , from: Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 2 Albanian officers wearing blue uniforms without any specific details; 3 greek police officers, 2 of them in plainclothes with a civilian car
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Anonymous Partner

Original Report

The respondent is a 19-year-old man from Morocco. He was pushed back from Albania to Greece on the 24th of November 2021. 

The respondent was crossing the border on a truck. Close to Korca, already inside Albania, the truck passed a scanner at a border control and got stopped. There were two police officers with three dogs. They wore blue uniforms without any specific details on them and arrived with a white car with a police insignia. 

The officers searched the respondent but didn’t confiscate anything. Then they started to ask him questions about his personal information in English for around 15 minutes but didn’t take any pictures or his fingerprints. At this point the respondent wanted to ask for asylum but was unsure if he was allowed to, so he did not say anything. Directly after, they drove him to the border which was approximately 17 kilometers away. 

The border was near a highway in the woods. Arriving there, the police officers opened the door of the car and told the respondent he should go. 

On the Greek side, the respondent met two other Moroccan men and they started walking the way back to Thessaloniki together. They took a secluded path through the mountains to avoid the police. On the next day around 11 a.m., while they were taking a break close to the city Rahi, a car arrived with two men in plainclothes inside who expressed that they were police officers. The officers asked them where they were from and they said they were from Syria. The policemen called more police officers who arrived with a police car. They apprehended the respondent and his companions. The respondent and one of the others got in the civilian car and their companion in the police car. 

The respondent and the other man were brought to a police station in Veroia. The police station was surrounded by a short fence. They had to wait in front of the police station and were watched by one police officer. When this officer was distracted the respondent and his friend jumped over the fence and ran away. They were  followed by two police cars but managed to shake them off by running inside the forest and crossing a river. After they got rid of the police they followed the road back to Thessaloniki.