Design a site like this with
Get started

Greek authorities tear 25 Afghan refugees, including 17 children, from Lesbos and set them adrift at sea

Aegean Boat Report reveals how the Hellenic Coastguard dumped the survivors 200 km away from safety

THE GREEK authorities on Lesbos arrested 25 Afghan refugees, including 17 children, on the island of Lesbos on Monday before setting them adrift in the Aegean Sea, a charity warned today.

After surviving the dangerous crossing from Turkey and reaching Lesbos on Sunday afternoon, the 25 hid in a woods and eventually made contact with Norwegian NGO Aegean Boat Report, which monitors and records the treatment of refugees trying to reach Greece.

“We are all wet. We don’t have clothes… We need help, please help us,” an audibly upset woman says in a voice message to and shared by Aegean Boat Report.

The group sent pictures, videos and their location data to the charity proving their presence on Lesbos.

Aegean Boat Report said it was unable to find help for the people.

“On Lesbos… there is nobody able to help, even if they wanted to, no local organisations, no NGOs, volunteers, journalists or lawyers, who would go to a location to help people who have just arrived, not even to document their presence.

“Because if they did, and the police found them, they risk arrested on site, charged with facilitating illegal entry to Greece, obstruction of police investigations and whatever other charges they might come up with, this just because they tried to help vulnerable people seeking safety in Europe.

“This, unfortunately, is the reality on Europe’s borders. European politicians no longer defend ‘our European values’: those values are gone. They are just words without substance, used in speeches to make it look like they are doing something. They are not.”

By Monday morning, the 25 had reached the edges of the nearby village of Tsonia, but were too scared to enter.

An hour later, at 11.20, they told the charity that the police had found them.

Later that afternoon, one of the women sent the following desperate voice message: “Hello. Today… the Greek police caught us and left us in the middle of the sea.

“Help us, come help us. The boat is not good. The water is coming in. All 17 children are here.”

After midnight on Tuesday, the Turkish coastguard announced that it had found the 25 in waters about 200km south of Lesbos.

The distance showed just how determined the Greek authorities are to remove people “by any means possible,” Aegean Boat Report said.

“So, why didn’t they just push them back outside Lesbos, as they usually do in these cases? The explanation is quite simple, the wind direction at the time was northwest, and if they had placed the life raft in the sea it would have drifted back towards Greek waters.”

On Wednesday, one of the women told the charity that the Greek police had confiscated their items, beat them, shoved them in the back of a van, and driven for more than an hour.

They were placed into a small boat, then transferred into another larger one, and taken out to sea for 7 or 8 hours. Then at night, they were forced to get onto a life raft.

The woman told Aegean Boat Report the following: “The Greek police threw the baby down from the Greek ship, but missed the life raft.

“Luckily we managed to get the baby back in the raft. Another girl was pushed down from the Greek ship, and broke her foot. It was barbaric.

“They enjoyed it, as if we were not humans.”

For more on this story, visit Aegean Boat Report on the following link:

Top image shows the 25 people huddled together on Lesbos

Published by The Civil Fleet

A news blog and podcast focused on the activist-led refugee rescue and support missions across Fortress Europe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: