The respondent, a 32 year-old man from Afghanistan, was part of a transit group consisting of three other Afghan men and himself. The group was reportedly apprehended by Greek Police officers in the evening of 15 March 2022. After the arrest, the transit group was reportedly taken to a building near the Greek-Turkish border and was subsequently pushed back in the morning of the next day.
The respondent reported that the transit group entered Greece in the evening of a day in March 2022. Soon after arriving, the group was reportedly apprehended by two officers who the respondent believed to be Greek Police officers because they were speaking Greek and they were driving an SUV with “Police” written on it. The respondent described the brand of the SUV as a Mercedes Benz. He believed that “the police already knew that some people were trying to enter Greece”, so they were already waiting for the transit group and apprehended them as soon as they arrived. He further explained that the officers were using “specific kind of torches that were used by the Police and they were pointing these torches to our faces”. Because of that, the respondent was reportedly not able to identify the clothes that the officers were wearing.
Most people stay at there for one or two nights before being pushed back to Turkey… The building is a large and old fashioned house with broken windows
Soon after the arrest, the respondent reportedly told the officers that the transit group is in need of help but the officers told them “shut up, you are not allowed to speak”. Instead, the respondent reported that the officers body searched the group, took all their personal belongings, including their phones and documents, and threw them away. He recalled that the officers called for support upon which a van with two other officers arrived after a few minutes.
The respondent reported that the transit group was pushed inside this vehicle and then driven with high speed to a building which he believed to be a camp. The respondent explained that most people stay there for one or two nights before being pushed back to Turkey. He described the building as a large and old fashioned house, with broken windows. He noted that many people stayed in this building during the night.
The respondent told the officers that the group is in need of help but the officers told them “shut up, you are not allowed to speak”
After their arrival at the building, the transit group was reportedly taken inside and handed over to the officers working in the building who he believed to be police officers. The respondent noted that approximately 8-10 officers were working in the building. He explained that the officers were wearing dark blue and silver uniforms and that they were speaking Greek. The respondent explained that the officers were calling for people from within the building and told them to body search the transit group. During the search, all of their clothes except for their underwear were taken off their bodies by these people. Then, all their clothes and belongings were reportedly searched. The respondent explained that “[the people working for the officers] were looking for documents, for money, for smartphones. And they took everything we had and they broke our phones.”
The respondent noted that it was very cold in the building, because the windows and doors were open. “We were shaking because of this cold weather.” The respondent reported that the group were given trousers and T-shirts by the officers and were allowed to go to sleep. But, as the respondent explained, there were not enough blankets available so it was too cold to sleep.
The following morning, the group as well as other people who stayed in the building were reportedly taken to two cars, which the respondents described as two very old Jeeps. The respondent recalled that there were two police cars – one in the front and one in the back – escorting the convoy to the Evros river. He added that there were two officers in each car.
[The Pakistanis] were responsible to beat us, to take us to the boat and deport us to the other side of the river
After arriving at the river, the group was reportedly handed over to a group of approximately 10-15 men from Pakistan who he explained were in charge of the pushback and were wearing coats and hats against the cold. At the same time, the respondent reported that the officers “parked their cars around 100 metres away from the river. They were just checking if we tried to escape.” As soon as the group was handed over, they were reportedly searched again by the Pakistanis while getting beaten using their hands as well as sticks. The respondent explained that the beatings happened to everyone except for one or two people of the group. “The Pakistanis started to beat all of us with the exception of one or two.” The respondent reported that he can not remember how long the beatings took, but after it finished, the Pakistani men used boats to bring the people to the other side of the river. He explained that there were approximately 10-15 people on each boat at a time and that they arrived at the Turkish side of the river at around 9am. He further described the role of the Pakistani men as “[t]hey were responsible to beat us, to take us to the boat and deport us to the other side of the river and each time they were using one boat for 10 to 15 people for deportation.”
The respondent was unable to identify the location of the pushback incident due to the fact that he and the other members of his group reportedly had their phones confiscated by the officers prior to the pushback. The respondent clarified that he did know “at all” where the pushback happened due to not having access to GPS on his mobile.