An #investigation initiated by Lighthouse reports, The Guardian, Mediapart, and Der Spiegel suggests that the two #refugees who #drowned in Sept 2021 off the coast of #Turkey may have been pushed into the sea by #Greek border guards.
According to an eyewitness, Ibrahim*, the two men – Sidy Keita and Didier Martial Kouamou – were pushed back from the Greek island of #Samos together with him. However, unlike Ibrahim*, they did not survive.
As Der Spiegel reports, Ibrahim* recalled that officers intercepted them in civilian clothing. He said men wearing balaclavas beat and bundled them and pushed into a car before taking them out to sea on a speedboat.
"After half an hour, the Greek officers switched off the motor. They then threw Kouamou and Keita into the water. I resisted. They beat me properly before throwing me into the water as well." stated Ibrahim.
After reaching the Turkish shore, Ibrahim provided detailed testimony to the Turkish officers. He led them to the location of Keita's body. Der Spiegel obtained the file containing his testimony and, together with other media partners, conducted a detailed examination of all accompanying available medical records, photos, and videos incriminating the Greek authorities.
Despite the evidence of the violent pushbacks, the Greek authorities have denied all allegations. Instead, they insisted the Turkish Coast Guard intercepted the men and that the Greek officers adhered to all applicable laws and protected the lives of #refugees.
However, the eyewitness reports and photographs documented the presence of the said refugees on Samos and their subsequent #pushback by the Greek officers. Ibrahim's description of where the tragedy occurred was consistent with satellite photos. Even his boat description fit the model used by the Greek coast guard. Furthermore, two Greek officials reportedly confirmed that the authorities were repeatedly pushing refugees into the sea.
Since May 2021, the Turkish coastguard registered 29 pushbacks involving people allegedly thrown into the water, Der Spiegel notes.