A boat carrying 19 people arrived south of Tsonia, Lesvos north east at 06.30 on August 12.
Immediately after arriving they fled to the hills in the souroundin area to hide from Greek authorities, afraid to he found and pushed back to Turkey. In the group there were 8 children, 5 women and 6 men.
The group contacted Aegean Boat Report for assistance, but before we managed to reach out to them, all phones when they offline, and all connection was lost.
Before we lost contact the group manager to provide pictures, videos and geolocations, proving without a doubt their presence on Lesvos.
No new arrivals was taken neither to the quarantine camp in the north, nore the south, this is also confirmed by the official registration of arrivals by Greek authorities.
We assume that authorities had found the group, because all phones was offline, and that the group had been forcibly removed from the island, this is the “normal” illegal practice of the Greek authorities.
In two of the videos they sent, we can see them hiding around some trees in the area, also a helicopter closing in, if this is related to a search of the area we have not been able to confirm, but shortly after all contact was lost.
If this helicopter was in fact searching for this group, it’s most likely a helicopter belonging to Frontex, stationed on the island. If that’s the case there should be a log of the helicopters location and time, that could confirm their involvement in pushback activity together with the Greek authorities.
All phones went offline between 09.41 and 09.48, Greek time, we do not believe they all ran out of power on their phones at the same time. It’s more likely that in these 7 minutes, the group was found and all phones taken away from them by force, usually at gunpoint from previous experience.
From locals we have information that there was a lot of activities in the area this morning, that most likely had to do with new arrivals. Later, at 13.00 two police cars was observed coming from Kleio/Tsonia, driving south towards Mantamados.
On August 12 at 14.06 a group of 19 people was found and rescued from a life raft drifting outside Dikili, Turkey, by the Turkish coast guard. They had 30 minutes earlier been informed by email from the Greek coast guard, that a group of people was drifting in this area, in need of rescue.
When we compared pictures and videos sent to us from the group of 19 after they arrived on Lesvos, with the footage from the Turkish coast guard when they rescued the people from the life raft, we can clearly see that it is definitely the same people, there is absolutely no doubt.
At 09.48 the group was found by Greek authorities on Lesvos north east, 3 hours and 48 minutes later they had “successfully” removed them from the island and left them drifting in a life raft outside Dikili, Turkey.
It’s clear for everyone that the group could not have moved from the north of Lesvos to the sea area outside Dikili, 50 km away, by themselves, in a life raft, without any form of engine, someone had to have done this, and who other than the Greek coast guard could possibly be responsible?
This operation was done in brought daylight, and clearly shows that Greek authorities are not in any way concerned that their illegal activities will have any consequences, and since there has been no condemnation from the European Commission, we must assume that these violations of international laws and human right is blessed by the Commission as border management.
The police cars observed leaving the area in the north of Lesvos at 13.00 driving south must have been empty. The commandos wearing balaclavas, driving in cars without license plates, must have left the area many hours earlier with the group.
We have followed this case, investigated and now published our findings. The case is quite straight forward, not especially complicated, it’s not rocket science. Anyone can without to much difficulty look at all the facts presented, and make a fairly accurate conclusion, but for some strange reason EU politicians seems not to be able to.
We must assume that these politicians are perhaps at least moderately intelligent people, they at least should be. From what they have been able to do regarding these violations performed by a member state, we actually can start to wonder, and if they are intelligent people, why are they not doing anything about it?
Since March 2020 the Greek authorities had pushed back 40.000 people in 1.500 cases the Aegean Sea alone. In this period over 800 life rafts carrying refugees have been found in the Aegean, and nobody from the Commision is even considering looking in to it, that just amazing.
Frontex involvement in human rights violations in Greece is no longer a question, it’s a matter of fact. They tried to keep the report from European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) a secret, away from the public, but a leak of the report to international press blew the case wide open, exposing that Frontex covered up pushbacks by Greek authorities, and even assisted.
How this will be handled by the European Commission is still not clear, the only responsible and correct thing to do is to pull Frontex out of Greece, and freeze all financial support to the country, until state of law is restored, but not a very likely scenario.
The Commission is at the moment deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid, an embarrassment for Europe, and by no means reflects the European way of life, our values, quiet the opposite.