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“The officers fired their guns towards the ground in front of us to scare us.”

Date & Time 2024-04-30
Location Approx. 50 km east of Hamzabeyli, Turkey
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 42.051425765357, 27.028782754314
Pushback from Bulgaria
Pushback to Turkey
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 13
Group size 12
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 14
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, threatening with guns, gunshots, dog attacks, theft of personal belongings, Overcrowding of vehicle
Police involved Initially 2 Bulgarian police officers, then dozen more arrived. Dark blue uniforms with 'police' written on them. All wore balaclavas. 1 police van. 1 dog.

The respondent is a 26-year-old Afghan man. He reported being pushed back from Bulgaria to Turkey sometime in April/May 2024, he couldn’t remember the exact date. This was the sixth time he had been pushed back from Bulgaria to Turkey. His first attempt was in January 2024.

During this sixth attempt at crossing the border, the respondent reported travelling in a transit group of 12 Afghan men and boys.  3 of them were minors and the youngest one was 13 years old. They crossed the border to Bulgaria near Hamzabeyli (Turkey).

After crossing the border, they walked for approximately 4 hours before they were apprehended by 2 officers whom the respondent identified as the Bulgarian police based on their dark blue uniforms which had ‘police’ written on them. The officer had a police van and a dog. A dozen more officers arrived at the scene. They all wore balaclavas and spoke mostly Bulgarian (and a little English).

The respondent said the officers then started beating the respondent and others in the group with ‘sticks’. They also punched and kicked them.

At some point, the officers released their dog on the respondent and fired their guns towards the ground in front of the group to scare them. The officers took everyone’s possessions, including IDs, passports, phones and money. They then drove the group back to the border in the police van. The space was tight for the whole group, so the officers forcibly pushed and squeezed them into the vehicle.

The group was pushed back to Turkey approximately 50 kilometres east from Hamzabeyli. The respondent was injured when being forced to cross back to Turkey, he said the fence was 3 metres high.