The main respondent of this testimony described being inside a truck onboard a ferry which left from Patras, Greece, together with a fellow companion on the 19th of December. The ship was described as being the “SUPERFAST” model and departed at approximately 6:00 pm from the new port of Patras, arriving at the Italian port of Bari on the next morning at approximately 10:30 am – after more than 16 hours of transit.
According to the respondent, when the truck was moving to leave the vessel two Italian authorities – which he described as “border policemen” dress in a green colored uniforms, approached. The respondent recalled that the other individual who was with was injured while he was pulled out of the truck by the police officers after he showed resistance. According to the respondent the police officers who initially apprehended him were both tall and one of them was bald, with no hair. One of them wore glasses as well. After they were pulled off the truck, the police officers searched them. They took their jackets, jumpers, shoes and socks. The men did not receive these back. Both individuals were handcuffed and were subsequently brought to the police station inside the port.
During his time in detention the respondent claims that they were both slapped in the face by the officer with hair and yelled at. The officers were described as having used bad words to them and talking in agressive manner.
“They were yelling at us all the time. In fact we didn’t understand what they were yelling but we felt it were bad words.”
They were brought to the police station inside the port. At the police station the guys repeated often that they wanted to apply for political asylum in Italy. The two men had a piece of paper previously printed out which said that they wanted apply for political asylum in Italy (it is called “Protenzione Internationale Asilo Politico” and written in Italian). They showed this paper to the police officers but the only thing one of the officials was doing was disrupting these papers without reacting to the constant request both guys made to not get pushed back.
“I wanna stay here, I wanna go to the camp here, I wanna get Asylum here. I requested so often that I dont wanna go back to greece. Please, I said; I did my best to stay there. But police didnt listen and also didnt respond. They just sent us back to the ship.”
The officials did not communicate with the two minors further except when they yelled at, insulted or threatened them. The only the information they received from the officials was that they would be pushed back.
“The police officers didn’t ask us any personal questions. The only thing they were saying was that we will be sent back to Patras.”
The boys had to sign two papers without knowing what they signed. There was no translator around who could have translated their requests and these papers. The police kept the papers, which they signed.
During their stay at the police station, they had their requests for food, water and going to the toilet denied.
“We asked for toilet and they just said no toilet. We said that we wanted to have food and water but they just denied.”
They stayed at the police station in the port for two hours. After they got their finger prints taken they got handcuffed again. After that they were brought back to the bigger model of “SUPERFAST”, as described by the respondent, by the same officials that were arresting them. Both presented resisting in getting pushed back. As a result, the respondent described that two Greek security guards from the ship were called to assist the police officers to enforce the pushback. During their pushback the respondent and his companion insisted once again that they were seeking for asylum in Italy. The ferry departed from Bari approximately at 7:00 pm.
“I requested so often that I don’t wanna go back to Greece. I wanna stay here. Please, I said; I did my best to stay there. But it was now 4 officials who pushed us back with force.”
The officials took them to a dark and cold room some where inside the ship where they were locked for the long hours on the way back to Greece. The guys didn’t know where. The respondent and his companion were denied to get blankets although the ferry was described as being very cold. They also received no proper food or enough water, even though they insisted on being hungry and thirsty. They only received a single small bottle of water each and biscuit. They also got denial of going to the toilet. For that reason they had to urinate and deficate inside the room.
“We were not allowed to go to toilet so we started to do it inside of the room in the ship.”
When the ferry arrived in Patras at approximately 10:00 am on the 21st of December a security guard in civilian clothes found the minors inside the locked room and brought them to the security headquarters inside the port. The man was described as being short, a little bit fat, without hair. A police van with four policemen in uniform was following them. The respondent claims that he was slapped by this security guard after saying a word. They were kept there for an approximate time of four hours. Also here they were denied to go to the toilet.
“They kept us for four hours in here and also they didn’t let us go to the toilet.”
After that they were brought to the police station where they were kept for an approximate time of two hours. First at the police station they were allowed to go to the toilet. At the police station their finger prints were scanned and pictures were taken. Both had to sign a paper. Both got the expulsion police paper, which says that they have to leave Greece in three months otherwise they will get deported. They received no explanation about the paper they were given. Neither at the security headquarters nor at the police station was there a translator present. Again they received no information about what paper they were obligated to sign. They were released from Patras police station at 4:00 pm and continued back into the city.