The boat, the respondent of this testimony was on, parted at approximately 6:00pm of the 22nd of October. He claims to have been hiding under a rain cover that was over the truck and that it was when the truck was turning around to exit the ship once in the destination port that the driver was able to see the man on his vehicle. Shortly after, around 6 to 8 Italian police officers came to find him.
After confiscating all of his personal belongings (shoes, cell phone and documents), the officials handcuffed the young man. Afterwards, they asked him where he was going, to what the victim answered he wanted to go to France, where he would meet with his family.
“I told them I had family in Europe and asked them not to push me back. They didn’t give me any food or any water. I didn’t even have access to a toilet. They pushed me back immediately”.
The respondent highlights that there was what he referred to as a “person from the UN”, whom he described as an official translator from Pakistan. “The translator told me that they could not leave let me stay in Italy and that they would deport me”. In the procedure, the victim told the translator that he was feeling sick and with great pain in the throat: he needed to be seen by a doctor. His petition was ignored and his right to health was violated.
“You can go to the doctor when you are back in Athens”, the officers answered.
The respondent did not even abandon the boat as he was not taken to a police station. Still handcuffed, he was taken inside a small room in the same boat he had travelled to Italy in. The officials who had arrested him were the ones to place and lock him inside the vessel’s room, where he spent the next long hours alone. Fortunately, there was food, water and a blanket.
The journey back was as long as the journey to Venice, which takes 32 hours –one-way– in the ferry company Anek Lines, one of the few to do this route regularly. In total, hence, the victim spent over 64 hours in this journey –almost four full days– only to end up in the same place where he had started from.