“I fainted while they were taking me back to the boat. ”

  • Date and time: September 9, 2020 00:00
  • Location: Venice, Italy
  • Coordinates: 45.4383649, 12.307342
  • Push-back from: Italy
  • Push-back to: Greece
  • Demographics: 1 person(s), age: 24 , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: Two Italian police officers and two Italian port security guards. Once in Greece, unknown number of Greek officials without a uniform.
  • 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, a 24-year-old man from Afghanistan, described that on the evening of the 8th of September of 2020, he was hiding under a truck that was inside a ship making its way toward Italy. The ship arrived at the Port of Venice at approximately 10:00 in the morning of the 9th of September of 2020. The respondent left the truck and attempted without success to leave the Port of Venice on foot.
Map of the Port of Venice.

Referring to a map of the Port he recalled the the location he was in was  surrounded by water in three ways, with only one street as the possibility to exit, which is, in turn, controlled by three check-in points. He described at this point that one street divides in two, one of the two paths leading to the police station. The respondent claimed to have been chased by two policemen inside a vehicle and two security guards – without a vehicle – inside the port for approximately one hour.

“They were good people. They did not touch me, they spoke good to me”, claims the young man.

After being apprehended, the officers told him to relax and the respondent asked for water. He was given a water bottle. Consequently, they brought him another water bottle ordering him to wash his face. He did so, and he was then given a mask to protect against COVID-19. He was asked to sit inside the police vehicle and then taken to the police station inside the port. Once in the police station -still inside the port – the officers asked for his name, last name, mother’s name, father’s name and recorded his fingerprints into a computer. 

Approximately 30-40 minutes after his arrival to the station, he was told to get inside the vehicle again, and was taken inside a vessel in the port. The respondent showed confusion about the type of vessel he was taken into but mentioned it could have been a “super-fast boat”. He claims to have begged not to be deported, but his plead was not listened to. He was taken inside a room on the boat, after which the young man described having fainted due to tiredness, lack of oxygen and nutrients.

He recalled being taking inside an ambulance 20 minutes later. Reportedly, doctors checked him and injected an unknown liquid in his veins through his arm. There was a black-out in his memory until he woke up on a hospital bed six hours later, after which he remained in the hospital bed and was not given any food.

After some time, the police came to find him and told him to go with them. They had been waiting for him in the hospital. Once again, he begged not to be deported, but the officers did not talk back to him. He was taken to a boat again and put inside a small room, after which the door was locked behind him. He stressed the fact that it was very cold inside that room. The respondent let the authorities and port staff know that he had not eaten, and ten minutes later he was brought a sandwich and a water bottle. 

Bruise from the injection of an unknown liquid in the hospital of Venice.

Inside the room in the boat, which had walls of iron, there was no bed. The size of the room was that of approximately a medium-sized van. The respondent slept on the floor for about six hours and waited until the boat arrived in Igoumenitsa approximately 10 hours later. He had access to a toilet after he requested it once the door reopened when the destination was reached. He was handcuffed before and after going to the toilet, and then taken to a police station, where he spent one hour and had his police paperwork checked – even though it was only a copy since his original paperwork was lost during the journey. During that time he was still handcuffed and sitting on a chair while officers typed on a computer.

As an important detail, the young man mentions that the officers were dressed “normally”, that perhaps they were secret police.The two officers wore a white T-shirt, one of them seemed to be around 35 years old. “They spoke good to me, asking questions normally”, he says. 

He was then ordered to go to Athens and his handcuffs unlocked. He agreed, but once they were in the bus station, he said he will take a bus to Patras instead. He paid for the ticket on his own and did so. The journey to Patras was three hours long.