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minor pushed-back through sea for the second time in two weeks

Date & Time 2020-11-20
Location Bari, Italy
Reported by No Name Kitchen
Coordinates 41.1327435, 16.8668087
Pushback from Greece, Italy
Pushback to Greece
Taken to a police station yes
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 17 - 17
Group size 1
Countries of origin Afghanistan
Treatment at police station or other place of detention detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, no translator present, denial of food/water
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 9 or more
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), forcing to undress, exposure to extreme temperatures during long hours
Police involved 6 to 7 Italian police officers, 2 Greek police officers

The respondent of this testimony is a 17 year-old Afghan boy who arrived to the Italian port of Bari in the morning of the 20th of November. He had been hiding for approximately 16 hours overnight under a truck which was on a vessel from the “Super Fast Ferries” company.

Once in the port, his presence was detected through an x-ray scan that trucks in the port go through. Thereupon, the boy was ordered to come out from below the truck. When the respondent did so, he depicts being pushed to the floor and. While he was still lying, one of the police officers hit him.

“He hit me with a baton. Here, near the ribs”, he explains, pointing at his still hurting body part.

When the victim could minimally recover himself and look around at where he was, he realised it was a big number of Italian police officers surrounding him: he recalls there being around 6-7 of them. The minor describes his memories of the scene:

“The officers were talking amongst themselves, discussing what they would do with me. One of them said they could bring me to a refugee camp in the country. But then another one said ‘no, bring him back to Greece'”.

Never being addressed or asked anything about who he was, how old he was or where he wanted to go, the victim was handcuffed and put inside a vehicle to be taken to a police station inside the port. Once in the station, he was ordered to sit down: his fingerprints were scanned and a picture of his face was taken, all of this without the presence of a translator.

When asked about whether any of his belongings were taken, the young man explains how his trousers and jacket were forcibly taken from him and never returned, as he was wearing a double-layer of both. Furthermore, his shoes, documents and mobile phone were confiscated in the detention process and would be given back only once he was back in Greek territory.

After the so-called “procedure”, the police took the respondent back on a boat. “It was a ‘SUPERFAST’ ship again”, he certifies. He was locked inside a small room, described to be the same or similar to the one he was locked in on the first time he was pushed-back from Italy, only one week ago. It was the second time he was being pushed-back to Greece in a time frame of only two weeks.

The temperature inside the boat was extremely cold. He was given no blankets and the respondent was uncertain of how long the journey back took: the absence of mobile phone or watch made it hard to tell.

“I was not given any food or water. Not in the police station, not on the boat. I did not even care about the food or the water, I just wanted a blanket so that I could sleep. It was so cold inside the ship”.

After an estimated time of 9 hours, the minor was made to leave the ship in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa, three hours away by bus from his starting point Patras.

In Igoumenitsa, the boy describes being taken to a police station inside the port, where two police officers returned his confiscated items –yet not the trousers or jacket– and gave him a piece of paper of unknown meaning. The 17 year-old then made his way back to Patras by bus.

“Why do Italian and Greek authorities deport us people like this? They see I am a minor, why would that officer order to push me back? This is not a good thing.”