Greece: Migrants allegedly beaten by border authorities

Greek authorities are beating and mistreating migrants in an attempt to push them back into Turkey, according to migrants who were forcibly returned. Young Syrian migrant Behiye S. said that she was forced to eat Turkish money and then thrown into a river after she crossed into Greece. 

“They captured us and almost beat us to death”, said Behiya. “I had to spend a day in prison. They not only did not give us any food but also took away the food that we already had with us.” 

“I came from Syria. My family was killed in an attack that dropped a bomb on our crop field. I was left alone,” Behiye said, explaining that she was crossing into Europe to find her uncle, her last remaining relative.  

Many migrants have shared similar experiences of being thrown into a river and picked up by Turkish immigration officers after swimming to the other side. Others are forced onto a boat and returned to Turkey. Some migrants have recounted that Greek authorities punched and beat them with bats and metal rods, then took their belongings such as medicine, phones and food. 

The Greek government is obligated to register irregular migrants entering the country, but instead they have been forcibly returning thousands of people to Turkey. In the first 10 months of 2019, at least 25,404 irregular migrants have been pushed back into Turkey by the Greek government. This is a significant increase from the 11,867 migrants forced back in 2018. 

As these violent returns continue, a new Greek asylum law has sparked uproar and concern over the restriction of migrants’ rights. The bill could make it easier to arrest asylum seekers, limit access to a fair asylum processes, limit asylum seekers’ right to work, and remove the right to appeal for rejected cases.

TMP – 2/12/2019

Photo credit: Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock

Photo caption: Thessaloniki, Greece – April 5, 2019: Migrants clashes with Greek riot police outside of a refugee camp in Diavata. Migrants and refugees gathered to walk to the border of Greece to pass to Europe

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