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They made me lie down in 50cm-high ice-cold water for 8 hours only in my underwear.

Date & Time 2022-01-22
Location Bari, Italy
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 41.1327435, 16.8668087
Pushback from Italy
Pushback to Greece
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 15 - 15
Group size 1
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, photos taken, forced to lie in cold water for 8 hours
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 3
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, water immersion, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 2 Italian men, 1 Greek man

The respondent, a 15-year old from Afghanistan, described being inside a truck onboard a vessel that left from Greece to Italy. The respondent said that the boat was a “SUPERFAST” model. It departed reportedly at approximately 6 pm, Friday 21st of January 2022, from the Greek port of Patras and arrived in Bari the next morning, Saturday 22nd of January 2022, at approximately 10 am – after 16 hours of transit.

“They made me lie in 50cm-high cold water for 8 hours naked only in my underwear.”

“They beat me too much.”

According to the minor’s words, once the ship arrived at the Italian port, the trucks started moving. When the truck under which the respondent was hiding stopped for two minutes, he tried to get out from under the truck. The respondent explained that the truck driver in the truck parked behind ‘his’ truck saw how he was about to leave the underneath of the truck. Then, he said that he saw men in uniform arriving onboard the vessel. The respondent said that he recognized them by their typical uniforms, which also had the word “police” written on the back. He stated that when the officers noticed him, they apprehended him and subsequently, he was taken to what he described as a police station in the port of Bari where he stayed for about 30 minutes.

“They took off my shoes, my jacket, my trousers, my t-shirt. I had to lie down in ice-cold water for 8 hours wearing only my underwear.”

According to the respondent, while he was in this building, he asked if he could use the toilet and the people in uniform told him to go outside. The respondent described that he was very scared when he tried to go out. He said that a man with military uniform of the port saw him and approached him. The respondent described that he was then taken to an area at the building previously described as a police station, in which he supposes were no cameras. He said that he was taken to a room where there was ice-cold water on the floor, about 50 cm high. The respondent explained that the people in uniform forced him to take off all his clothes except his underwear and that he had to lie down on the floor in the cold water for what he felt were 8 hours.

“There was one person filming everything with the phone.”

The respondent claimed that the Italian “commando” (people-on-the-move refer to the authorities working in the Port of Patras as commando)  beat him “too much” with a stick on his neck, on the forehead, in the back, and on his abdominal as well as extremities. Taking up what the respondent shared in his testimony, he said that he identified two Italian police officers, one officer in the Greek police uniform. He also said that the truck driver beat him together with the other uniformed men while he was lying on the floor in the cold water. The respondent said that there was one person with a covered face taking a video with a mobile phone while he was being beaten up.

“They took 150€ from the money I had.”

Additionally, the respondent stated that the Italian uniformed men took 150€ out of the 300€ that he had in his possession prior to the pushback.

The part of the testimony covering his return to the port of Patras was described very briefly by the respondent. The respondent seemed apathetic and diverted whilst retelling the story. From what was shared in the testimony, the respondent arrived back on the same vessel at the port of Patras on Sunday, 23rd of January 2022.

The respondent said that he could not sleep after the pushback at night as he had a fever and as he was very cold. A friend of the respondent, who helped with the translation during the interview, stated that the respondent has changed a lot after the pushback. He repeated, “he is very different […]he cannot sleep and walks around in the factory at night”.