“I ran from racism in Iran because i am a sunni muslim and I dont have any rights and because I had an Arabic name. I came here looking for peace and asylum to be safe, me and my family. And all I find is violence and humiliation. What did we do to get all that?”

  • Date and time: October 14, 2021 23:59
  • Location: Amori (GR) to Rahmanca (TR)
  • Coordinates: 41.2982403, 26.4407317
  • Pushback from: Greece
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 200 person(s), age: 7-60 , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Kurdistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, insulting, threatening with guns, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 5 officers dressed in deep blue uniform and armed with guns, 3 of them speaking syrian arabic fluently; 2 officers dressed in olive green uniform; 4 officers at the detention site; 15 officers some in blue some in green uniform all wearing balaclavas; 1 x white van, 1 x blue mercedes van
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water, personal belongings taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent, a 31-year old Iranian, experienced a pushback from Amori, Greece to Rahmanca, Turkey on the 14th of October 2021. 

On the 14th of October at 10 am, the respondent met a smuggler who he knew from a Facebook page. The respondent, 2 smugglers, and 4 other men (of Syria, Iran, and Palestine between 25 and 33 years old) drove for 4 hours to get to a village called Elcili near the border. The smuggler parked the van next to the river, they walked for a few meters until reaching a plastic boat of 2 by 2 meters in size. 

With this boat, which was too small for the number of people, they paddled at around 6 pm to Greek territory. Water was getting inside the boat and the group was afraid that at any moment, the boat would sink. The smugglers did not cross with them, just gave them the paddle boat. Once on the other side the group walked for about 2 kilometers into a small forest but saw police officers, who must have been noticed them as well. They tried to hide in the forest but they could hear the officers’ voices who were looking for them. The group split from there because two Palestinian men were not able to run and hid in the forest meanwhile the 3 other men started running. They were apprehended by two officers who were dressed in deep blue uniforms and armed with a gun. The respondent said the uniform looked similar to the uniform in the picture below. 

image 1: Long sleeve uniform

After 10 min another 2 officers appeared in olive green uniforms. 

These officers started beating them and kept telling them in bad english to sit down. Every part of their bodies was kicked and hit with a plastic baton and a branch for about 10 minutes, the respondent and the group was also being insulted by the officers saying “fuck you malaka”. 

After 30 minutes of laying on their stomachs, a blue van (Tatra 815 VVN 6X6) arrived at the site, it looked like the following picture but blue colored instead of sage green. 

source

3 officers were sitting in the van, all dressed in deep blue uniforms as mentioned above. They spoke Arabic and English to the respondent and the two men with him and greek with each other. According to the description of the respondent, these officers looked Syrian and were fluent in Syrian Arabic. They said “Shut up or we will beat you more” and forced the 3 men to go in the trunk. The drive took about 40 minutes, it was reckless and on an unpaved road. They arrived at the detention site where 3 other officers took them to a big room. A private car was on site as well. In this big room, other people’s stuff was lying around, like bags and broken phones. 

Two officers came to search the 3 men, while the two other officers asked them to get undressed completely. They took phones, money, bags, and all the supplies in it. In total, they took 3.000 euros, 1.000 euros from each. On top, they cut their passports into 2 pieces. Nothing was returned, just pants and one shirt. 

The three men were brought to a cell of 5 by 5 meters in size. The cell was very dirty and smelled bad. One toilet was inside but unable to be used as it was too dirty. Approximately 200 to 250 people were already held in that cell. The age range of the people was between 7 – 60 years old and of Afghan, Kurdish, Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistan, Moroccan, Algerian and Palistinian nationality. 7 women were among them and about 10 kids with their parents. 

In this cell they waited for 4 hours. 

At about 10 pm, the officers loaded everyone in one big white van, looking like the one in the picture below, and another blue Mercedes van. 

Tatra 815 VVN 6X6
Mercedes white van – but blue in this pushback

The respondent described 2 vans in total: one white van like the picture above and another slightly bigger blue Mercedes. 

Inside the van, they could barely breathe as they loaded all 200 – 250 people into these two vans. 

After 5 minutes of reckless driving on an unpaved road, the van arrived at the riverside. 15 officers, some dressed in olive green uniforms and some in blue uniforms were at the site. All of them were wearing balaclavas, one with night vision scopes and another one was armed with a gun that looked like the one shown in the following picture: 

Image 4: Uzi

Some out of the group were asked to help the officers to prepare the boats. Meanwhile, the rest was being searched. One officer was speaking Turkish very well and asked the people to take out the money, empty their pockets, or otherwise, they would beat them up. So everyone started emptying their pockets. 

One hour they waited silently next to the river. According to the respondent’s description of the surroundings, there was a small island in the river where they were being taken to. On both sides was a forest. 

30 people were loaded on each boat, one was 5 by 3 meters in size and the other one 2 by 2 meters. They were taken to the small island. From there, they had to cross the river by swimming / walking to get to Turkish territory. 

The water was running fast and on chest level. The respondent was in the second group who was pushed back. 

Once at Turkish territory, they walked to Rahmanca, and then further in the direction of Edirne until an old man gave them a ride to Edirne. 

“I ran from racism in Iran because I am a Sunni Muslim and I don’t have any rights and because I had an Arabic name. I came here looking for peace and asylum to be safe, me and my family. And all I find is violence and humiliation. What did we do to get all that?” 

Throughout the whole time no medical care, water, or food was provided.