Greece Says It Doesn’t Ditch Migrants at Sea. It Was Caught in the Act. Video evidence shows asylum seekers, among them young children, being rounded up, taken to sea and abandoned on a raft by the Greek Coast Guard.
According to an exclusive report by New York Times:
On the island of Lesvos on April 11, twelve migrants, among them men, women, children and an infant were locked inside an unmarked van, forced onto a speedboat, transferred to a Greek Coast Guard vessel and then abandoned in the middle of the Aegean Sea, in violation of Greek, European Union and international law.
They were left adrift in an inflatable emergency raft.
The asylum seekers had already hopscotched countries for years to escape war in the Horn of Africa. They had barely set foot in Europe, hoping to start new lives, when masked men rounded them up and stripped them of their belongings.
Now they were crammed into the dinghy, rocking on the open waters and trying to shield themselves from the bright sun as Naima Hassan Aden clutched her 6-month-old baby and wept.
“We didn’t expect to survive on that day,” said Ms. Aden, a 27-year-old from Somalia. “When they were putting us on the inflatable raft, they did so without any mercy.”
Their ordeal might ordinarily have remained largely unknown, like those of so many other asylum seekers whose accounts of mistreatment have been dismissed by the Greek government. Only on this occasion, it was captured in its entirety on video by an activist who shared it with The New York Times.
A Times investigation verified and corroborated the footage. We also interviewed 11 of the asylum seekers from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia whom we located at a detention center in Izmir, on the Turkish coast.