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The police, they come to the room and they just beating people, beating [...] they didn’t do anything.

Date & Time 2020-07-20
Location at the Greek-Turkish border, near Meriç
Reported by Anonymous Partner
Coordinates 41.16936176, 26.31072897
Pushback from Greece
Pushback to Turkey
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved yes
Men involved yes
Age 15 - 30
Group size 20
Countries of origin Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Morocco, Lybia
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved unknown
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved unknown number (a lot) of officers with black clothes and face masks; two cars and a truck

On the 20th of July 2020, a group of twelve people crossed the Greek-Turkish border and entered in Greece. Upon their entry to Greece, the group split up, with four leaving to Alexandroupolis, and the other eight crossing a forest, before they were apprehended by Greek authorities with two cars near Feres, while walking along on a wide street. As the authorities approached the group, one person from the group ran away, while the rest of the people was taken to a police station in Alexandroupolis. After waiting in the station for sometime, the group was collected again at around 2:00 am. After this, Greek authorities from this station (unknown number), wearing black clothes and face masks, put the group and an additional 13 persons previously unaffiliated with the group (aged 15-30) into a truck and drove them back to the Greek-Turkish border, near Meriç. In the group there were two women (aged 22 and 25).

When the group arrived back at the border, they saw that they were near the Evros/Meriç river. The officers took them out of the vehicle and reportedly beat the group-members with batons, confiscated  their personal belongings (phones, food, money, clothes, shoes) and forced them to undress. They were additional, new officers at this location.

After this, the respondent described that the officers put them on a small boat with which the group crossed the Evros river. The respondent recalled that the officers involved in the push-back were not speaking Greek, but rather in English between each other. Because of this, he inferred that they were not all Greek and referred to them as “NATO” and “European police”.

After the pushback, the respondent managed to buy food, clothes and a new phone and to cross the border again, arriving then in Thessaloniki. There, (presumably on the 26th of July) the respondent was caught by officers wearing uniforms consistent with those worn by Greek police, at the bus station of Bus 2K, near the train station. After this, the authorities brought him to the detention center of Mitagogo, where he stayed for 17 days in a room with other people (all minors). At that time the respondent was still underage. During his detainment, the respondent described that the authorities repeatedly beat them with batons. The detainees repeatedly asked for medical support, but it was always denied.

After 17 days in detainment, around midday on the 11 of August, 4 policemen took 17 people from the detention center, put them in handcuffs, put them in a bus and brought them to a police station. According to the respondent, they were beaten on the bus with batons.

Once the group arrived at the police station, they were taken out of the vehicle and were led in a room, one at a time. In the room, the respondent described that there were a female “doctor” and a male police officer in a Greek police uniform. According to the respondent, during his time with the “doctor” he received an injection from a transparent liquid in his arm. No interpreter was present during this time and the respondent was not aware of what was happening exactly. When he tried to ask what was the injection, the doctor only said “it is for Corona”. The respondent affirms that all of the 17 people got the injection.

After that, the respondent was released with the permission of remaining in Greece for one month.