Brutal pushback near Kos: 18 people attacked, beaten, threatened with weapons by Hellenic Coast Guard and then pushed back to Turkey
Fri Jan 21 2022
Category: Pushback and Human Rights Violations
Number of people: 18 (2 children)
We receive a message about a boat left adrift at sea north-east of Kos, carrying 18 passengers.
We cannot reach the people as the line is busy, but in the meantime we receive information that one woman on board has fainted.
We alert the Turkish Coast Guard, they confirm they will launch a rescue operation.
A relative of some of the travellers on board tells us that there are children on board the boat. They also tell us that previously the Hellenic Coast Guard attacked the boat and removed the engine and poured their fuel into the sea.
We send an email to authorities detailing that 18 people are in distress and urgently asking for help.
The Turkish Coast Guard informs us that they rescued 18 people all coming from Palestine, and that everyone is ok. They also report that there were two children on board.
One of the people on board of the boat calls us and tells us that they are in a camp in Turkey, where the conditions are very bad. They ask us for help. They send us two videos showing the conditions. Everything is flooded.
One of the travellers share their story with us:
We have been driving for 6 kilometres, then we were discovered by the Greeks. They caught us when we were still in Turkish waters - nevertheless, we were attacked by the Hellenic Coast Guard. I think they were Greek officers because they were speaking in both Greek and English. They threatened us with weapons, they took our motor away as always, and they took the petrol as well. Then they left us like that in the water. We were 18 adults and 1 child, 2 people from Lebanon and 16 from Palestine. We hadn’t been hit, and neither our telephones nor our wallets were taken away. But we were afraid, which is why we didn’t film or take photos. In the end, before they started driving away, [the Hellenic Coast Guard] showed us the middle finger to say “Fuck you, we let you die here”. Then our friends called the Turkish Coast Guard and after one or two hours we were picked up.
Another traveller also shared his story and says that he was pushed back already 6 times by Greek authorities.