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They came with the net on their face and beat us with batons

Date & Time 2022-05-17
Location Lesovo
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 41.96661754, 26.57496174
Pushback from Bulgaria
Pushback to Turkey
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 28 - 28
Group size 8
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved Unknown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground
Police involved unknown number of men dressed in riot gear, armed with batons.

The respondent, a 28 year-old Afghan man, was one of a group of eight people pushed back from Lesovo, Bulgaria to Hazambeyli, Turkey.

According to the respondent, once the group crossed over from Turkey to Bulgaria, they walking for about four or five hours before encountering uniformed men wearing mesh visors and dressed in heavy gear. They were reportedly extremely violent with the transit group and attempted to drive them all back through the forest.

The respondent described how the uniformed men had “arrived with the net on the head and the big sticks“. The respondent was unable to recall the exact number of uniformed men present, but stated that they appeared to surround the group very suddenly and used their fists and batons to beat them; they struck the respondent’s face repeatedly and knocked out three of his teeth and broke one tooth on the right-hand-side of his face in half, the larger portion of which later also fell out, reported the respondent.

He also described how the uniformed men shouted a lot between each other and in the direction of the transit group, and although the respondent was not able to understand the words, he said the tone was very aggressive and threatening.

The respondent described that from the moment of apprehension to the point when they were pushed back, the whole process took about four hours.

The men in uniform then reportedly drove the group to the edge of a forest near the Turkish border and instructed them to continue in the direction of Turkey and to never return. The respondent was not definite of the geographical location of the pushback, but stated that it was likely to have been somewhere east of Hazambeyli, Turkey.