MIGRANTS were reportedly beaten up and thrown back into the sea by the Greek coastguard, in a new “pushback” operation intercepting boats.
It comes amid an investigation ordered by the European Commission over the refugee’s treatment from member states such as Greece and Croatia.
A masked sailor told a group of migrants to “Get the f*** out of here, you don’t belong here” before grabbing Khalid Nazari and throwing him overboard, report The Times.
With the help of some other sailors, he then hurled the 17 other refugees, including Khalid’s wife, his seven-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son, towards the inflatable dinghy.
“We felt like rats,” Khalid said.
The 34-year-old from the Ghazni province in Afghanistan said he fled the country because he had converted to Christianity.
“They were all inhumane,” he additional.
Two crowded inflatable rafts were picked up by the Turkish coastguard.
“For four hours we were screaming and crying, wet and shivering from the cold and choppy waters. My daughter was bleeding because her teeth broke when the masked man shoved her into the dinghy,” Khalid said.
“We never thought we would survive. But the Turkish coastguard picked us up.”
However, the Greek coastguard has denied the incident.
A senior official told the publication: “The only thing we do to hinder rafts from entering our waters is to blare out warnings, allowing them to pirouette around our boats, returning safely from where they came from.
“That’s it. No pushbacks. No contact. No shootings. No violent interceptions whatsoever.”
GREECE DENIES THE ALLEGATIONS
Notis Mitarachis the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum said: “We strongly deny these allegations.
“Greek borders are EU borders and we function within international and European law to protect them.
“Illegal sea crossings are highly dangerous and they should be prevented in accordance with the 2016 Joint Statement, which the EU needs to ensure is properly enforced.
“Europe remains the target of criminal gangs who are exploiting people who wish to go into the EU illegally. We make no apology for our continued focus on breaking up these human trafficking operations, and protecting Europe’s border.”
The number of Afghans crossing into Greece has been dramatically rising since the Taliban took over Kabul.
Meanwhile, according to Der Spiegel, there have been several pushbacks that breach the international right to claim asylum, at the borders of Greece, Croatia and Romania.
INVESTIGATION INTO ‘MISUSE OF EU FUNDS’
The EU’s home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson has ordered an investigation into the reports of violence towards asylum seekers in addition as “evidence of misuse of EU funds,” reported the Telegraph.
She said she was “extremely concerned” by the reports after footage emerged showing Croatian police wearing black balaclavas beating migrants with batons.
“Some of these reports are shocking,” she said.
It comes after a week it was reported that French cops shot migrants with rubber bullets in a bid to stop them crossing into the UK.
Last Friday French authorities launched an investigation after a shooting took place in Dunkirk.
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