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BBC: Greece’s coastguard to blame for deaths of dozens of migrants

The BBC reported on Monday that the Greek coast guard has caused the deaths of dozens of migrants in the Mediterranean thought push-backs but also by throwing in the water. Greek government and coast guard vehemently reject these claims.

Citing sources from local media, NGOs and the Turkish coastguard,  the BBC speaks of 40 migrants’ deaths in a period of three years, including nine who were deliberately thrown into the water.

The nine are among more than 40 people alleged to have died as a result of being forced out of Greek territorial waters, or taken back out to sea after reaching Greek islands, BBC analysis has found.

The Greek coastguard told BBC reporters it strongly rejects all accusations of illegal activities.

There have been similar accusations in the past, but this is the first time the BBC has calculated the number of incidents which allege that fatalities occurred as a result of the Greek coastguard’s actions.

The 15 incidents we analysed – dated May 2020-23 – resulted in 43 deaths. The initial sources were primarily local media, NGOs and the Turkish coastguard.

Among the examples presented in the report, BBC journalists showed footage of 12 people being loaded into a Greek coastguard boat and then abandoned on a small vessel to a former senior Greek coastguard officer. During a break, with his microphone still on, the ex-officer reportedly said that it was “obviously illegal” and “an international crime.”

Asked about the BBC report during Monday’s press briefing, government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said that the competent authorities will investigate the allegations as they do with all such claims but added that “the allegations included [in the report] are not substantiated.”

He also praised the work of the coastguard, noting that they “often go beyond the limits of their duty, their responsibilities, and their obligations, saving dozens of human lives daily, sometimes even more on particularly challenging days, and they will continue to do so.”

The whole BBC report is here.

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One comment

  1. Wow that’s a serious allegation, if you were cynical you might think it could be retaliation for bad mouthing the UK regarding the marbles. Personally I’m not cynical ,🤨