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Water? They drink water from the toilet.

Date & Time 2020-04-23
Location Drama detention center, Greece
Reported by Anonymous Partner
Coordinates 41.1874502, 26.31828207
Pushback from Greece
Pushback to Turkey
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 29 - 47
Group size 23
Countries of origin Morocco, Algeria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, denial of food/water
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 15
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, insulting, electric shock, water immersion, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 15 greek officers, one van

The respondent, a 29-year-old man from Algeria, was stopped by the police in Athens for documents’ verification. The respondent had legal papers for remaining in Greece (he had been in the country for four years), however the authorities took his paperwork and subsequently detained him in a police station in Athens.

The respondent stated that he was held at this location for four months without access to legal information or support. The other prisoners (according to the respondent, many of which were from from Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) were held together in a small cell, had access to only one meal per day and did not have regular access to water, so that they were drinking water from the toilet. At that time, the respondent described that he almost committed suicide, but was stopped by a police guard. After four months, he was brought to Amygdaleza Pre-Removal Detention Facility (PRDC), in Athens, where he stayed for six days.

After this, he was transferred to the Paranesti PRDC for another six days. On the first day of Ramadan (23rd of April) at around 2.00 pm, the police came, took 23 people from Morocco and Algeria aged between 29 and 47 years of age, and put them in a large blue van with no windows (likely the riot vans used by the Greek police).  According to the respondent, they were in transit for approximately three hours and then stopped at what he identified as the Greek-Turkish border, near Meriç.

There, the respondent reported that group was led out of the van and what he described as five Greek police officers – three male and two female – started beating them with batons, tree branches, fists, kicks and electric tasers. They also stole their money, food, bags, clothes, and phones. Everyone in the group was forced to undress – they were totally naked. The respondent stated that some of the officers were wearing black clothes and others were wearing green uniforms; he inferred that this meant that some were from the police force and others from the army. He recalled that they were all speaking in the Greek language with each other.

After the beatings, the group was transferred over the Evros/Meriç river into Turkey. This was carried out by a small dinghy driven by two men, whom the respondent thought could be from Pakistan. He reported that these ‘drivers’ of the boat inflicted further violence on the group, stating that they put people’s heads in the water to threaten them. Once they arrived on the Turkish side of the border, the group was helped by some Turkish people, who accompanied four people from the group with broken legs and hands immediately to the nearest hospital.