The respondent of this testimony is a 19-year-old boy from Afghanistan. He described crossing the Adriatic sea hiding under a truck on a Grimaldi Lines Minoan vessel for 24 hours, reaching Italian port city of Ancona at 6:00 pm on the 10th of October. Once in the desired destination, the driver of the truck proceeded to check his vehicle, where he found the boy hiding.
The respondent’s immediate reaction was to run away, trying to abandon the vessel. On the door to exit the ship towards the port of Ancona, he met port security guards who began to chase him. Even though he claims it was 6 or 7 guards who were running after him, he succeeded in not being caught and continued to run towards the exit of the port that would lead him to the city. However, once outside the fence of the port, he encountered Italian police officers.
“A police car approached me by the front and at the same time, another police car approached me from the back. I was trapped and there was no way to run.”
The respondent was trapped between police cars and police officers. Consequently, he was handcuffed and ordered to get inside the officers’ car. He was brought to a nearby police station, where nothing to eat or drink was given to him. He was asked to put his hands on a scanner in order to record his fingerprints, to which the boy attempted to refuse. The officers promised him that, after leaving his fingerprints, he would be set free. Still, the boy tried to resist. His response was met negatively by the officials, who began to hit and kick him, coercing the victim to put his hands in the scanner. He was punched and kicked in his whole body, from neck below.
“It was two officers that hit me. The first one seemed to be “the big boss”. One was fat and had curly brown hair, the other one was thin. There was also a police woman in front of me who was witnessing everything.”
After the aggression and the non-consenting fingerprint scan, a photograph of his face showing his height was taken. The attestant further recalls being forced to sign a paper. The paper was written in Italian, there was no translator present and he was and continues to be unaware of what it is he signed for. He was not given any documents to keep during the procedure and, furthermore, his mobile phone was confiscated, together with his shoes.
When asked if he requested asylum or expressed his will to stay in Italy, the respondent answers positively, stressing what the police had promised him: “Give us your fingerprints and then you are free to go”.
Overall, he spent only about 2 hours in Italian territory: what the police officers had promised was a lie. After they had taken what they needed from him, he was taken back to the same boat in which he came: a Grimaldi Minoan Lines cruise ship (either the Cruise Europa or Cruise Olympia).
He was placed on a tiny room on the lowest floor of the ship, near to the engines of the vehicle. Inside the room, he was alone. There was a bunkbed but he was given no blankets to compensate for the extremely cold temperature the room was in. The only food given to him was a bag of chips, helplessly perceived as a mocking gesture by the respondent, along with a small water bottle. The journey back to Patras was approximately 21 hours in transit.
The respondent was pushed-back to Patras, arriving on the 11th of October to his starting point. His personal objects were given back to him in the police station of the Greek port.