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"The officers forced teenagers to strip naked by threatening to beat them more if they did not comply."

Date & Time 2024-05-01
Location Near Hamzabeyli, Turkey
Reported by Collective Aid
Coordinates 41.971344115998, 26.652312749007
Pushback from Bulgaria
Pushback to Turkey
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 15
Group size 15
Countries of origin Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 10
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
Police involved 10-12 Bulgarian male police officers, 2 police vans

The respondent is a 35-year-old Afghan man. He reported being pushed back from Bulgaria to Turkey approximately one month ago, in May 2024. The respondent couldn’t recall the exact date. He reported traveling in a transit group of 15 Afghan, Syrian, and Iraqi men and boys. 5 of them were teenagers. The youngest boys in the group were about 15 or 16 years old.

The group crossed the border to Bulgaria in the daytime from the area around Uzunbayır (Turkey) after having managed to escape from Turkish police officers who had tried to capture them.

After they crossed the border, they walked for about one hour until they were apprehended by 10-12 Bulgarian male police officers whom the respondent identified by their uniforms, guns, and two police vans that had ‘police’ written on them.

The respondent said the officers started beating everyone in the group with a stick, including the teenagers. All of the officers took part in the beating. They beat them all over their bodies. The respondent tried to protect his head from the beating by covering it with his hands and arms. The officers forced some of the people in the group, including some of the teenagers, to strip naked by threatening to beat them more if they did not comply. The respondent refused to undress and was beaten more. The officers took everyone’s possessions, including their phones and money.

After this, the group was driven in the two police vans back to the border, approximately 10 kilometers east to where they were apprehended. The respondent believes they drove them there because where they had originally crossed the border there had been heavy police presence on the Turkish side of the border.

The officers forced the group to go back to Turkey through a hole in the border fence. By this time it was already evening. That night, the group was forced to sleep in the ‘jungle’ and it was very cold.