Border governor says Greece tortures, illegally deports

February 9, 2017

A Greek border governor said Greece has been violating international agreements on the humane treatment of refugees by “pushing back” the illegal immigrants after torturing them.

Edirne Governor Günay Özdemir told reporters on Tuesday that the number of migrants being “pushed back” to the Turkish side has recently increased and they had “video evidence” of repeated instances of the deportation of the migrants, a practice illegal under international agreements.

“We have accounts of both migrants and border officials and we conveyed our concerns about it to the international community,” the governor said. “Lastly, they pushed back 40 refugees after they were tortured, oppressed.”

Last week, some 40 migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria, including women and children, were left on the banks of the Meriç (Evros) River, which forms part of the border between the two countries, by the Greek Coast Guard.

He went on to criticize Greece “which embraced members of the Gülenist Terror Greoup [FETÖ],” referring to eight fugitive soldiers involved in the recent coup attempt blamed on the terrorist group.

A Greek court has rejected Turkey’s request for their extradition. The governor said Greece both acted “against humanity and international agreements” and proved to be “a bad neighbor.”

Migrants have claimed Greek police intimidated them with dogs and weapons and beat them before sending back to Turkey. They have also claimed that police confiscated their cellphones and money before their forced deportation by boat. Supporting these claims, Turkish officials said that most migrants illegally deported back to Turkey were injured, with a number of bruises and dog bites.

Doğan News Agency also reported that Greece has sent more than 3,000 migrants back to Turkey in the past four months through this controversial deportation practice.

Shahzad Ahmad, a Pakistani migrant, said they were first beaten when they were caught illegally crossing into Greece by police.

“They took us to a camp for migrants and refused to give us food. We stayed there for three days and they repeatedly beat us. They took our money and phones. They had long sticks and let the savage dogs attack us. They left us in a remote spot on the border, far from any village or town,” Ahmad said.

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