“calmed down through lies... and then pushed-back to Greece”

  • Date and time: November 8, 2020 00:00
  • Location: Bari, Italy
  • Coordinates: 41.1327435, 16.8668087
  • Pushback from: Italy
  • Pushback to: Greece
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 16-19 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Unknown
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), insulting, forcing to undress, being stepped on, exposure to extreme temperatures for long hours
  • Police involved: Italian police officers, Greek port security guards (one was short, fat with a black beard with some white hairs and short black hair, the other was tall and thin)
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, personal information taken, no translator present
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

The respondent of this testimony described hiding underneath the rain cover of a truck onboard a ship leaving from Greece on the 7th of November. The SUPERFAST vessel – model either I or II – left Greece at approximately 6:00 pm and reached the Italian port of Bari on the next morning. It was when the truck was moving to leave the vessel that the driver spotted him and told him to get off.

According to the respondent, there were Italian police officers waiting for the young Afghan man outside the vehicle. The respondent recalled falling down while exiting the truck and lying on the ground. He was shaken up by some water the officers threw on his face. Once awake, the officers took the victim’s shoes off in order to check if the respondent was hiding anything inside them: the young man’s shoes were returned after not having found anything inside them.

“I was ready to run, but then they told me ‘Sit down, there is no problem. You want to go to Germany, Paris… we will help you, no problem, sit down'”.

The Italian police insisted in making the young man believe he was not going to be pushed-back to Greece and that they would help him reach his desired destination. Once their aim was achieved through lies, they handcuffed him and took him to the police station inside the port. There, the only personal belongings he had were confiscated: mainly his cell phone and documents. During the whole procedure there was no translator present and he was not given any food.

All in all, the testimony respondent described spending one hour in total in the police station, where his fingerprints and personal information were taken. He was then taken back to a vessel the respondent claims to be the same one he had travelled in, or at least one of the same model: a SUPERFAST boat.

Inside the boat he was locked in a small room on the lowest floor of the vessel. The respondent recalled a paper being given to whom he describes as the captain of the ship.

“I tried to sleep but the floor was too cold to sleep on. I spent the whole night standing up and sitting down just not to feel the cold. There was not a blanket in the room, no bed, no toilet, no food. Standing and sitting, standing and sitting”.

When asked about the length of the journey back, the young man estimated 14 hours, even though it was difficult to tell while being locked in a room without a mobile phone for long hours.

The vessel ultimately returned back to Patras, Greece, where port security guards came to find the man in the room. Still inside, the respondent described that the guards were physically violent with him, striking him using their bare hands.

Eventually he was taken to the port security headquarters, where he was hit again by a different port security guard: this time the victim described his feet being aggressively stepped on while the aggressor’s foot twisted and put more weight onto the victim’s body. This aggressor is in turn described as being tall and thin.

The victim spent about two hours inside the port security headquarters, where he moreover describes being badly insulted. “They used a lot of bad words against me”, he claims. In that same place, the young man received his documents back, with an added writing on the back which reads “13/11/20 Athens”.

Victim’s document with an added writing by the port security guards, which reads “13/11/20 Athens”.

“The port security guards told me that I could go to Athens or elsewhere, but that they did not want to see me again in Patras”. 

After this threat from the port authorities, the young man could go back into the city of Patras, arriving once again to his starting point on the 9th of November at approximately 10:00 am.