In the early hours of October 1, a rubber boat carrying 43 afghans, 15 of them small children, set out from Cumhuriyet, Dikili, Turkey, destination Lesvos.
At first light the boat was closing in on Lesvos, but deep inside Greek waters they were stopped by a vessel from the Greek coast guard, at gunpoint they were forced to turn the boat around and head back towards Turkish waters.
The vessel visible in the videos is PLS-618 (ΛΣ-618), one of two Faiakas-class fast patrol crafts (FPCs) currently operated by the Hellenic Coast Guard and stationed on Lesvos. This boat has been involved in numerous illegal pushbacks outside Lesvos, one reported by Aegean Boat Report on 19 February 2021, and in August 2020 an investigation was published on the Border Violence Monitoring Network, involving the boat in queastion.
19 February 2021 Lesvos
1 October 2022 Lesvos
Masked men in dark naval uniforms pointing machine guns down toward them from the coast guard vessel, telling them that if anyone used their phone to film, they would take all their phones.
With a rope they ripped the engine off the rubber boat, leaving the 43 people helplessly drifting in the middle of the sea just inside Turkish waters.
Translation from the video above: “Hi today is 01/10
We were going to the island, Greek police arrested us, they took the motor and the oil of our boat, and left us in the middle of the sea. There are a lot of kids here, they threatened us and said if you don’t go we will beat you up. They were throwing a rope at us trying to hit us. Now we are in the middle of the sea and we called Turkey coastguard, and they didn’t come yet. The Greek coastguard is over there, they brought us here and, waiting over there. The coastguard is there. There is the island, and there is Turkey. And it’s morning”.
People onboard still had their phones, and called Turkish coast guard to be rescued, at 07.43 Turkish coast guard found and rescued the group drifting outside Dikili, Turkey.
We often hear Greek officials, talk about border management, how they intercepts boat’s at sea and force them to turn around and go back to Turkey, this is how it’s done, by force at gun point, in direct violation of international laws and human rights.
Both the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Notis Mitarachi, Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, have openly confirmed that they stop boats at sea, pushing them back to Turkey, this is illegal under international law.
Greek authorities is claiming that they are not doing anything illegal, they have the sovereign right to protect its borders, that the way it’s done is in direct violation of international law, European Law, The law of the sea’s and human rights, seems to be irrelevant for Greek authorities.
Greece is heavily supported by EU and it’s Border and coast guard Agency Frontex. A week ago the OLAF report was published by Spiegel, the report concluded that Frontex were involved in covering up the illegal pushbacks of asylum seeker from Greece to Turkey in violation of their fundamental rights, serious misconduct and other irregularities.
Since March 2020, we have registtered 1690 pushback cases in the Aegean Sea, performed by the Hellenic coast guard, involving 45.147 men, women and children, 610 of these cases was performed by using rescue equipment/life rafts, 15.831 people was left drifting in 935 life rafts in the Aegean Sea.
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