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And they said [in English] “look, don’t escape. If you escape, and we arrest you, we are going to beat you”

Date & Time 2023-11-02
Location Gevgelija, North Macedonia
Reported by Anonymous Partner
Coordinates 41.12826, 22.51701
Pushback from North Macedonia
Pushback to Greece
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved no
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 35 - 40
Group size 2
Countries of origin Algeria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention fingerprints taken
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved
Violence used no violence used
Police involved Four officers wearing uniforms that the respondent recognized as North Macedonian police, one van identified as the North Macedonian police van

The respondent, a 35-year-old man from Algeria, was part of a transit group with another 40-year-old man from Algeria. The two men were pushed back from North Macedonia to Greece two times within 15 days. During both pushbacks, the transit group was arrested by the North Macedonian police and reportedly taken to a transit centre in the proximity of Gevgelija, from which the group was subsequently pushed back to Greece between 3 and 4 p.m

The second time the respondent was pushed back to Greece, he entered North Macedonia with the same Algerian friend and reportedly walked for three days and three nights along the railway. On November 2nd, as they were approximately 40 km away from Skopje, the transit group was apprehended on a road near the highway by two police officers identified as the North Macedonian police. The respondent reported that he and his friend were body-searched by the police officers and forced to remove their shoes to prevent any attempt to escape. 

And they said [in English] “look, don’t escape. If you escape, and we arrest you, we are going to beat you”.

According to the respondent, the two police officers called other police officers, who arrived in a large blue van. The transit group was immediately transferred to the van. After approximately an hour and a half of driving, the respondent and the other Algerian national arrived at the same transit centre, where they had their fingerprints and pictures taken. He described being taken to the same gate from which he had been pushed back from earlier, this time by a man and a woman identified as North Macedonian police officers. The respondent and his friend were subsequently pushed back to Greece through the gate at approximately 3 o’ clock in the afternoon. After the pushback, the respondent recalled that he walked 17 km with his friend to reach Polykastro and then return to Thessaloniki.