An asylum-seeker, pushed again by the Greek coast guard whereas making an attempt to cross the Aegean Sea, plans to file a lawsuit towards Greece for allegedly being stabbed within the again throughout the ordeal.
The 37-year-old Abdullah Mohamad Isaak was among the many 35 irregular migrants rescued off the coast of Türkiye’s western Aydın province on March 7 after Greek authorities pushed their lifeboat again, a frequent incidence within the waters dividing Türkiye and the European Union’s easternmost member.
Isaak lived in Türkiye’s western Izmir province for a yr earlier than reserving a spot on a lifeboat carrying migrants like him by means of unlawful means to Europe.
“We went up on board from the Kuşadası district and reached Greece after three hours within the sea,” Isaak instructed reporters from Aydın’s Migrant Returns Heart the place he was staying following the remedy for his wound.
As soon as the migrants reached the shore, their raft was stopped by 5 Greek coast guard officers, one lady and 4 males, in response to Isaak.
“All of them wore ski masks and took us all aboard their ship. Then they hit us with iron batons. Two of them beat me with an iron baton. I saved crying out ‘Don’t! Cease!’ and ‘La ilaha illa Allah.’ They cursed at me, telling me to not say ‘La ilaha illa Allah.’ Then they stabbed me and I forgot the place I used to be at that second,” Isaak recalled.
“I spoke Turkish, saying ‘Abi, tamam,’ (All proper, brother) however they yelled at me to not communicate Turkish. Then they hauled us into the raft, tugged us over to the open sea and pushed us again,” he recounted.
Isaak additionally claimed the Greek officers confiscated the telephones and belongings of their group, who had been later rescued by the Turkish coast guard.
“They accompanied us to the port, then took me to the hospital. They handled me there. I’m grateful to the Turkish authorities; they took excellent care of me. They helped me quite a bit and restored my well being,” he mentioned.
“The Greeks stabbed me and I need to press fees. I’ll file a criticism. They handled us horribly. We’re human beings and they didn’t deal with us as such. They handled us like animals. So, I need to sue Greece,” he mentioned.
Greece has lengthy been below fireplace for its unlawful, typically inhumane and generally lethal observe of pushback — abstract deportations of migrants with out permitting them to use for asylum.
The Greek authorities denies all allegations, regardless of claims on the contrary from alleged victims, rights teams, Turkish drones and even the U.N.’s particular rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
“In Greece, pushbacks at land and sea borders have turn out to be the de facto normal coverage,” the U.N.’s particular rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe Gonzalez Morales, mentioned final yr.
Equally, many within the worldwide neighborhood, together with Türkiye, which attracts unlawful migrants from all over the world for being a key gateway to Europe, have incessantly condemned the observe as a violation of humanitarian values and worldwide regulation for endangering the lives of susceptible migrants.
Whereas the Turkish coast guard has come to the rescue of 1000’s despatched again by Greek authorities, numerous others died at sea as boats stuffed with refugees sank or capsized, particularly within the Aegean Sea.
The Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) recorded almost 2,000 migrants lifeless or lacking within the Mediterranean Sea final yr. A report by Türkiye’s Ombudsman Establishment mentioned in July 2022 that Greece has pushed again almost 42,000 migrants since 2020. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 16, 2022, the Turkish Coast Guard Command’s Aegean Command Station saved 47,498 irregular migrants in 1,550 separate circumstances throughout its areas of jurisdiction, over 18,000 of whom had been victims of Greece’s pushback coverage.
Within the early months of 2023 alone, Greek coast guards pushed again a whole lot of migrants making an attempt to cross the Aegean, inflicting no less than 9 deaths in two separate shipwrecks close to Türkiye’s western shores final week.
Athens constantly rejects the accusations regardless of considerable migrant testimonies, media proof and worldwide scrutiny. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ authorities, since coming into workplace in 2019, has vowed to make his nation “much less engaging” to asylum-seekers.
Greece has additionally been accused of intentionally collaborating in its clampdown on migrants on its borders with the EU’s border safety company Frontex, whose complicity was confirmed by a number of media experiences and an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Workplace (OLAF) early in 2022.
Within the meantime, pro-migration humanitarian teams in Greece have been lamenting the Greek authorities’s “toughening anti-migration stance” and “waging a witch-hunt” towards refugees, in addition to their defenders, forcing some campaigners to step away from the battle altogether.
Final November, a lawyer who beforehand labored with a nongovernmental group (NGO) to assist pushback victims mentioned she acquired much less authorized work due to her involvement within the notably delicate case of dozens of Syrians who had been stranded on the Greek-Turkish border earlier in 2022.
Some 50 humanitarian employees are at the moment dealing with prosecution in Greece, following a development in Italy which has additionally criminalized the availability of assist to migrants.
Resistance, nonetheless, continues rising within the nation towards Greece’s harsh insurance policies.
A whole lot of refugees gathered for a protest in Athens on Saturday, accusing the federal government of “murdering” asylum seekers by means of pushbacks.
“Cease pushbacks, down with the federal government of murderers,” learn one of many banners on the rally in entrance of parliament. One other learn, “The blood of the harmless cries out for justice.”
Some protesters carried indicators with the dates of migrant boat sinkings within the Aegean Sea.
Different demonstrators drew a hyperlink between migrant deaths at sea and the Feb. 28 practice tragedy that left 57 lifeless and has been blamed on Mitsotakis’ authorities.
“Mitsotakis, you will have blood in your fingers – lifeless youngsters at sea, lifeless youngsters on trains,” they chanted.
Refugees chant “freedom” throughout an indication towards Greece’s strict migration insurance policies, accusing the conservative authorities of “murdering” asylum-seekers by means of unlawful pushbacks, in Athens, Greece, March 18, 2023. (AFP Photograph)
Since taking workplace 4 years in the past, Greece’s conservative authorities has additional bolstered its land and sea borders with Türkiye in a bid to stem unlawful arrivals.
Police Minister Takis Theodorikakos this week mentioned a contract to construct a deliberate 35-kilometer (22-mile) extension to the nation’s metal fence on the border with Türkiye can be signed “in coming days.”
Within the newest incident in Greek waters, a lady and a person died earlier in March after a speedboat with almost 30 individuals on board sank close to the island of Kos.
A month earlier, a lady and a person drowned when a dinghy carrying 41 asylum-seekers crashed onto a rocky coast at Lesbos island.
The EU has mentioned it’s working with the United Nations and the African Union to prepare voluntary returns to nations of origin, and to take refugees to camps earlier than being resettled within the EU or elsewhere.
In January, European Fee chief Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the EU deliberate to place in place migration offers with nations resembling Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria “to enhance returns and to stop departures.”
Greece has repatriated greater than 8,000 individuals over the past two years in cooperation with the Worldwide Group for Migration, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi mentioned this week.
Folks maintain a banner studying “Cease pushbacks – Down with the federal government of murderers” throughout an indication towards Greece’s strict migration insurance policies, accusing the conservative authorities of “murdering” asylum-seekers by means of unlawful pushback, in Athens, Greece, March 18, 2023. (AFP Photograph)