“If there were no camera, I would beat him up.”

  • Date and time: November 28, 2021 11:00
  • Location: Gevgelija, North Macedonia.
  • Coordinates: 41.127962951355, 22.517261841128
  • Pushback from: North Macedonia
  • Pushback to: Greece
  • Demographics: 10 person(s), age: 36, unknown , from: Afghanistan, Morocco
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: kicking
  • Police involved: Officers from North Macedonia, wearing blue unifroms; police car and blue van.
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Anonymous Partner

Original Report

The respondent was a 36-year-old man from Morocco. He was pushed back from North Macedonia to Greece on the 28th of November 2021. He also mentioned that he had been pushed back from the same country the previous day, on the 27th.

He was apprehended near Gevgelija, along with a friend while waiting for a bus in town. A police car approached them, and the officers told them to follow the car to the police station. The officers were wearing blue uniforms, and the respondent couldn’t identify any flag on it. They walked for about 5 minutes.

“The way that they (the police officers) were talking to us wasn’t very good. They were yelling at us: “Sit down, sit down.”

Because they were not given any chairs, they were forced to sit on their knees. The officers questioned them about their routes, and why they were in North Macedonia. They (the police officers) said ‘You can go from Albania, Bulgaria but not from here.’

The officers asked for their papers. When they showed the Greek white card the officers replied that it was not valid in North Macedonia. The respondent’s friend told them that with this paper they had the right to move around Europe. For this, he got kicked once. One police officer got really angry and kicked my friend and told me ‘If there were no camera, I would beat him up.’

Neither the respondent nor his friend asked for asylum. How you are supposed to talk to them when you are beaten up? We weren’t even allowed to talk. So we were afraid.

Then the respondent and his friend were loaded into a blue van and brought to another police station. Their white cards were thrown away, and their fingerprints, pictures, and other personal information were taken. According to the respondent, there were persons in transit from Afghanistan in the police station: 8 men and 2 women. The women were barefoot.

After their personal information was taken, they were all loaded into a van. The two of them plus the ten other persons. The van was driven by other officers in blue uniforms. They drove for about 20 minutes until they reached the border.

He described the place they were pushed back as being at a fence with a gate.

After the pushback, the respondent and his friend decided to go back to Thessaloniki.