“As the respondent did not have money nor phone, the officers took all what he had in a small bag, which was some chocolate and 2 small bottles of water. ”

  • Date and time: October 3, 2021 07:00
  • Location: Sladun (BG) - Büyükismailce (TR)
  • Coordinates: 41.8516589, 26.4590847
  • Pushback from: Bulgaria
  • Pushback to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 32 , from: Tunisia
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 3 officers dressed in blue shirts and pants and a yellow jacket, 4 officers all dressed in sacramento green shirts and pants with Bulgarian flags on their sleeves, 1 green Jeep
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

The respondent, a 32-year-old Man from Tunisia, experienced 15 pushbacks already, his most recent one from Bulgaria, Sladun to Büyükismailce Turkey on the 3rd of October, 2021. 

On the 2nd of October at around 10 pm, he started walking alone to Kapikule in order to get on a heavy truck to cross the border. Early in the morning, at 3 am, the respondent arrived to Kapikule and hid for about 30 min on the side of the road near to an oil station. When a truck with the plate insignia of “RO”, Romania arrived, he went on the truck and hid between the tires and the container in a small empty box. The box was 70 cm in size, normally a box to carry truck repair equipment. Not to be seen, the respondent locked a small door, but couldn’t breathe properly inside. 

Nothing happened for 3 hours during which the respondent waited in that box. The truck started driving for about 2 km, until 3 officers became aware of him at 4 am as they were scanning the trucks at the border at the entrance of Bulgaria. All were dressed in blue shirts and pants and a yellow jacket, as the picture shows below.

image 1: officer dressed in blue shirts and pants with yellow jacket

These officers asked the respondent in English to sit and wait. They themselves started talking to walkie-talkies. The respondent was asked where he is from and whether he knows the driver of the truck to which he responded that he is from Tunisia, wants to go to the camp and doesn’t know the driver. 

These officers kept talking and laughing at the respondent until a green Jeep with 4 officers, all dressed in Sacramento green shirts and pants, came and loaded the respondent in the car trunk. The respondent could confirm the Jeep looking as the following picture: 

image 2: Bulgarian Police Jeep

The officers had the bulgarian flag stitched to their arm sleeves and insignia on their chest. The uniform looked like the following two pictures: 

image 3: Shoulder of uniform with flag
image 4: Bulgarian border police insignia

After loading the respondent in the trunk of the car, which was locked from all sides and 2 by 1 meters in size, he was very recklessly driven for about 20 min, 9 km, on an unpaved road. Several times the respondent was hit against the side of the trunk because the officers kept drifting the Jeep. 

At 6 am, the car stopped near the fence, near Büyükismailce. The surrounding area was of unpaved road and forest. Village lights of Turkish territory could be seen. 

The officers took the respondent out of the trunk and made him kneel down, asking again where he is from. To his response that he is from Tunisia, they asked him why he is coming to Bulgaria. Another officer came, asked the respondent to show his hands, and started hitting him with a branch and kicked him over the chest. Further, he was asked to get completely undressed. He was made to wait for 30 minutes naked. Meanwhile, the officers kept kicking him and punching him in the face, also by using a branch. 

All his clothes were searched, one of the officers asked three times for the respondent’s phone, but he didn’t have one. Because of that, the officer slapped him twice, told him “No Bulgaria, No Europe, Go Tunisia”. As the respondent did not have money nor a phone, the officers took all that he had in a small bag, which was some chocolate and 2 small bottles of water. They left him barefoot and only gave back pants and one shirt. 

Now at around 7 am, the officers pulled up a small door in the fence. One officer was standing near the door while the other one was behind the respondent slapping his head to move faster. The respondent could not walk properly and was crawling to cross the border. The officers kicked him and said, “Go”. The intention to ask for asylum was expressed but was ignored. It took the respondent 1 km of walking barefoot to Büyükismailce and then further 5 hours and 19 km of walking barefoot to Edirne.