“Locked inside a cell for 10 days after being pushed-back from Italy”

  • Date and time: October 3, 2020 00:00
  • Location: Ancona, Italy
  • Coordinates: 43.6207161, 13.5087895
  • Pushback from: Italy
  • Pushback to: Greece
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 17 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: no violence used, exposure to extreme temperatures during long hours
  • Police involved: 5 Italian police officers, unknown number of Greek port security guards and unknown number of Greek police officers
  • Taken to a police station?: unknown
  • Treatment at police station or other place of 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

The respondent of this testimony is a minor of Afghan nationality who reached the port of Ancona in Italy on the 1st of October. The vessel he travelled in is a “SUPERFAST” boat which parted at 17.30h on a Sunday, arriving to its destination in the following afternoon after about 24h of journey.

According to the testimony, it was through the x-ray scanning system the truck he was hiding in had to go through that his presence was detected. Consequently, a large number of Italian police officers were waiting for him on his exit from the vehicle. All of them were wearing the same “police officer uniform”.

“They told me to come out [of the vehicle] and asked me how old I was. I told them I was 15. A ‘boss’ then came, looked at me, and considered I was lying, that I was not a minor. He told the rest of the officers that I would be sent back to Greece”. 

It seemed as though the push-back of the victim was justified only because the head of the officers considered –without having any proof– that he was not a minor.

Being surrounded by an approximate number of 5 officers, the victim further describes his body being checked while still standing in the port. When the officers found a paper in his pocket written in a language they did not understand, they tore the paper in front of his eyes: in the sheet there were aid phone numbers of Italian lawyers he could attempt to reach in case the situation being lived happened. That was no longer an option.

After the minor’s shoes and mobile phone were confiscated, the attestant explains being then taken to a place inside the port described as “a room for the port security” and “certainly not a police station”. No translator was present during the whole procedure and in that room his fingerprints were scanned and a photograph of his face was taken.

“They gave me a paper to sign. I don’t speak Italian or English, I did not understand what the paper said”. He had no option but to sign it.

When asked about food or water, the respondent points he was only given a small water bottle. He spent an approximate time of three hours in that room.

“I told them I wanted to go to Milan; that I did not want to go to Germany or France or anywhere else. They simply said ‘no’; that I was going back to Greece”.

After all his personal information was gathered, the officers took the minor back to what the victim claims to be the same ship he had arrived to Italy in: there, he was placed in a small room pictured on a side of the ship and on a low floor. He was locked and alone.

“The room was very cold and there was light. Someone brought me a water bottle. It was cold water. I gave it back. The room was very cold and so was the water, I did not want to drink it”.

There were no beds or blankets. The floor was cold and hard as if made of concrete. The respondent highlights several times the fact that the only thing he was given was cold water, taking into account the temperature the room was in.

On the 3rd of October the ship reached the Greek port of Patras, bringing the young boy back to his starting point only three days after his departure. Men described as “port security guards” came to meet him in the room. The local police was called and the victim was handcuffed this time. In the police station inside the port, all his personal information – including fingerprints – were once more collected.

He was asked whether he had any documents with him, to which the boy replied negatively. Still, the nightmare was far from being over: the victim was taken the the police station in the centre of the city, where he would spend 10 days locked inside a cell with other men. He was released in the evening of the 12th of October.

“I was locked inside the police station for 10 days. There were beds, but they were really hard. They did not ever give me any blankets”. 

Furthermore, the minor claims being given an expulsion order from Greece with an expiration time of one month, after which the minor fears being pushed back to Turkey or even Afghanistan.