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The police hit the other respondent with a gun on his head

Date & Time 2024-01-03
Location Lesovo, Bulgaria
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 41.978415394807, 26.60989003621
Pushback from Bulgaria
Pushback to Turkey
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age unknown
Group size 27
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 4
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, threatening with guns, gunshots, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings, dog used for intimidation
Police involved 4 Bulgarian police officers wearing blue uniforms with black insignia

The respondents are two Afghan men. They reported about a pushback from Bulgaria to Turkey. They crossed the border as a transit group consisting of 27 people of different ages. They crossed the border close to Lesovo through a fence. The respondents report seeing cameras on the fence. 5 minutes after the group crossed the border, they were apprehended. According to the respondent, a man was lying on the ground and waiting. 

Later, another man, recognized by the respondent as a Bulgarian police officer, came while shooting in the air. Shortly after that, three more officers came with a dog. The respondent was shown a picture of the Bulgarian police and he confirmed this was the uniform the officers were wearing. According to the respondents, the officers were wearing blue uniforms with black insignia.

The police officers took the money and phones from everyone. They also took food, clothes, and important papers. Also, ‘everything you were wearing’, the respondents said. They were reportedly left in their boxers and shirts. The respondent described the officers took all their food and gave it to the police dog. 

One of the respondents didn’t want to give his phone away, he had hidden it in his socks. He described that the officers hit him and, in the end, took the phone away. The other respondent was hit with the police gun on his head. The respondents reported that another person from the transit group had a bleeding nose and another one had a blue eye as a result of the beatings. According to the respondents, the beatings lasted approximately 3 minutes. The respondents describe that everyone in the transit group was beaten except one man who had his child with him. Additionally, they used the police dog to intimidate the transit group, however the dog didn’t bite anyone. The police were more violent with people on the move who didn’t want to give up their belongings. After this, the police sent the group back to Turkey through the wire.