On the night of the 18th July 2021, the respondent, a 37-year-old man, along with a group of 6 Afghan men, attempted to cross the border between Turkey and Bulgaria close to the city of Edirne. After climbing up the fence, the respondent reported that he hurt his leg after falling from about 3-4 meters. He and the rest of the group then decided to hide in a forest nearby as they reportedly heard a patrol coming their way, equipped with dogs.
After 30 minutes two officers described as ‘Bulgarian police’ came their way. The respondent states that they searched every member of the group after commanding them to kneel down and took their phone as well as their money.
The officers then left and soon afterwards another patrol reportedly arrived in a jeep. The respondent reported that they beat up all members of the transit group before forcing them into the back of the vehicle. The respondent recalls the extreme heat and the difficulties to breathe and move in this narrow space.
The respondent recorded that they drove for 30 minutes to the nearest crossing point and all 6 men were asked to get out the back of the vehicle. The officers then reportedly summoned them to take off their clothes, which members of the group did. The respondent and the group were beaten up as they were naked, and were then reportedly pushed back to Turkey.
Once on the other side, as the respondent was injured it was decided that the rest of the group would carry on without him. He reportedly spent the whole night in the forest, injured and clothe less, and took a taxi back to Istanbul on the morning.