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They told us to lay down and they started beating us

Date & Time 2021-07-12
Location near Gevgelija
Reported by Mobile Info Team
Coordinates 41.12823821, 22.51807243
Pushback from North Macedonia
Pushback to Greece
Taken to a police station unknown
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 23 - 25
Group size 3
Countries of origin Libya
Treatment at police station or other place of detention fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, denial of food/water
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 5
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), theft of personal belongings
Police involved 5 North Macedonian police officers (dark blue uniforms with the Macedonian flag), one car and one van

The respondent is a 23-years-old man from Libya. On December 7, 2021, he was pushed back from North Macedonia to Greece. 

Together with two other men from Libya, aged 24 and 25, the respondent crossed the Greek-Macedonian border and entered North Macedonia. They walked about 20 kilometers and then crossed the Vardar River with a bridge. 

The respondent explained that on the other side of the bridge was a village. After entering the village, at around 9 pm, they were walking on a small road when a car stopped next to them. The respondent explained that they could not run away and stopped walking. There were three police officers in the car – they wore dark blue uniforms with the Macedonian flag on them and spoke in Macedonian. The officers told them to sit down and wait for another van to come to the scene. The respondent said:

“They told us to sit on the floor and they called another van and they said that we had to wait here until the van came.”

After about 20 minutes, a van arrived with two male police officers in the same uniform as the officers who apprehended them. The respondent explained that they were placed in a van and driven to a police station, the journey took about half an hour. Fingerprints, photos and personal information were taken at the police station. The respondent did not ask for asylum. They were not allowed to smoke, go to the toilet and were not given any food. 

After giving their information, they were taken to the border, about a 20-minute drive, by the same police officers who took them to the police station.

“Then after this process of taking the personal information, pictures and fingerprints, they took us straight to the gate, the border.”

When they arrived at the border, the respondent stated that the officers took all their belongings, saying “first they took all of our belongings. They took 200 euros and my phone.”

The respondent explained that they then had to lay down and the officers started beating them with wooden sticks, explaining: “They were beating us so hard.”

The location of the pushback was close to the train track, the respondent recalls. There was a ‘big door’ in the gate that the officers opened to push them through. 

Based on the respondent’s description, it is highly probable that they were pushed back to Greece near Gevgelija.