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32 Refugees Tortured On Kos Held Captive for 12 hours By Greek Authorities

On June 25 at 06.00 am, a boat carrying 32 people, all from Afghanistan, landed east of Ag. Fokas, Kos south east.

Immediately after arriving the group fled to the hills in the surrounding area, in fear of being found by police and illegal returned to Turkey.

Shortly after arriving the group contacted Aegean Boat Report for assistance, the group provided location and pictures to document their presence on Kos. From the pictures we can see that the there are many small children in the group, youngest member was only 3 weeks old.

Contact with the group in hiding on Kos was lost just after 10.00 am, and we assumed that they had been found by police. No new arrivals was taken to camp on Kos this day nor the following days, this can also be seen in the official report on arrivals published by the Hellenic Ministry of Migration and Asylum.

After reconnecting with the group now back in Turkey, they could explain how they were arrested by masked men, held captive in 12 hours on Kos under extreme circumstances, and left drifting in the Aegean Sea by Greek coast guard.

We lost contact with the group when 4 masked med found them in the hills above Ag. Fokas, they immediately ordered all phones to be handed over, the men forced them to give up their passwords, to axes the phones, “they pointed guns at us, we were so scared”.

They told us that they would take us to camp, but then when we arrived at a ruined building they said you will stay her, they will take corona test and take you to camp tomorrow”.

The group was forced into the back of a white van, there were no seats and they had to sit on the floor on top of each other. “There was no windows, but I could see outside through the front window, we drove through the city, I could see traffic lights, but I didn’t pay much attention because they said they would take us to camp”.

We arrived at a ruined building, it looked like an old school, inside we could see electrical equipment, laboratory equipment, protection glasses, things that can be used in a school, inside on the right side there was a large hall, they took us all there”.

They said that the place they were kept couldn’t have been close to the sea, nor people or roads, all they could hear outside was a dog barking in the distance.

When everyone was gathered inside the nightmare started. At gunpoint everyone was ordered to hand over all belongings, bags, money and papers. The men was separated from the women, handcuffed and forced to lie down on the floor in a separate room, those who refused was severely beaten. “The masked med was shouting, beating people, children was crying hysterically from fear, it was a nightmare”.

A boy age 7 who was traveling with his mother was separated from her and forced into the room with the men in handcuffs, an 11 month old baby was taken from her mother and used as a bargaining chip, threatening her wit her own child to get her to comply.

They searched everyone, they forced them to take of all their clothes, in front of everyone, even the women. “They touched us on our private parts, they looked and checked places they shouldn’t have seen, it was humiliating”.

We asked to go to the bathroom, they told us there was no bathroom, so they took us outside behind the building, we could do anything because the men were watching

The group was imprisoned in this building from 11 in the afternoon until 11 at night, in this time no food and water was provided, not even for the children or pregnant women.

While in captivity one of the women found a pen and wrote down the license plate number of the white van on a pice thorn from a cardboard box. She hid the pice of papers in her closet, not to loose it. We received a picture of this taken after they had arrived back in Turkey, the number was KXZ.6491.

Plate Number Written while still on Kos

In Greece license plate numbers are not publicly available, so we can’t look up who this white van belongs to, but we can see in what district the van was registered. The two first letters is KX, so the car belongs to Kos/Kalymnos area. For those who live and work on Kos it would be fairly easy to locate this van, a big white van stands out, not easily hidden, especially if this van has been frequenting used to remove people around the island.

Two other people, a man and a woman arrived, both in civilian clothes, jeans and t-shirts, they also searched through their belongings. The woman was thin, medium height, had a white t-shirt and long hair in a ponytail. The man was older they say, around 45-50, had white hair, tall and athletic, they both used facial protective masks, and not balaclavas as the rest of the men holding them captive. These two left but arrived again around 10 at night.

We understood that something was going on, it was dark outside and the masked men holding us captive told us to get up

The group was forced back into the white van they had arrived with, everyone was scared, confused, didn’t understand what was happening. They told us they drove for approximately 40 minutes in the van, but time was difficult to keep track on under these circumstances.

All 32 people, men, women and children, was forced onto a big gray vessel, they said it looked like a “was ship”, so we must assume that this was a vessel from the Greek coast guard. The vessel took them back out to sea, and forced them into two life rafts outside Datcha, Turkey. “They took us out and left us in the middle of the sea in the dark, we begged for our lives, they didn’t listen, those who didn’t go voluntarily was thrown down into the raft”.

When I listen to their testimonies, I can’t understand what kind of people do these horrible act’s, how can anyone do this and call themselves humans afterwards. In this case there was a lot of small children involved, take a close look at their faces, how could anyone do these things to these children and not be seen as anything else than a monster.

In most countries in Europe anyone doing this to children would face a very long time behind bars, including a full psychological evaluation, but not in Greece. There they are applauded and promoted for a service well done, a hero of Greece, and literally nobody is doing anything to stop it, if this isn’t rock bottom I don’t know what is.

At 02.35 am, the Turkish coast guard found and rescued 32 people from two life rafts drifting outside Datcha, Turkey, south east of Kos.

The Turkish coast guard had been notified by the Greek coast guard by email that there was a group of people in this area that needed to be rescued. Greek authorities denies any involvement in these illegal pushbacks, but how could they possibly have known that there was people in life rafts in this area in the middle of the night, if they themselves hadn’t put them there.

Artwork By Yorgos Konstantinou

Comparing pictures taken on Kos with pictures taken when they were rescued by the Turkish coast guard leaves no doubt, it’s the same group that arrived on Kos the previous morning.

This is the result of Greek authorities inhuman treatment of refugees arriving on Greek Aegean islands, they are hunted like animals, robed, beaten, raped and killed, humiliated in the worst way imaginable, it can only be seen as systematic torture.

Only one question remains, what kind of people can treat other human beings this cruel and inhuman? We must remember that this isn’t done in 1940 by the nazis, but in 2022 by the Greek authorities. How long can these atrocities be ignored by the rest of Europe, what will it take to force the European Commission to act against a member state, crimes against humanity is obviously not enough!

There seems to be no end to the cruelty inflicted on these poor souls, as if they mean nothing to anyone, non humans that can be disposed of without any consequences.

I’m ashamed, lost for words.

Victime of the Pushback on June 25 trying to explain, still in shock

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

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