Greece is detaining migrants at a secret extrajudicial location before deporting them to Turkey without processing their asylum claims, a New York Times report says. Meanwhile, EU asks Greece to probe violence against refugees.
Greece has a "secret site" on the border with Turkey to incarcerate and expel migrants arriving in a surge facilitated by Ankara, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
"The extrajudicial centre is one of several tactics Greece is using to prevent a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis," the online report said.
The Greek government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Athens has denied sending people back to Turkey without due process.
The paper said it had confirmed the existence of the site through reporting and forensic analysis of satellite imagery.
It also interviewed a Syrian man who claimed to have been taken to the site, near the border village of Poros.
AFP news agency teams also present in the area at the time saw soldiers boarding migrants onto military vehicles. Other unmarked vans were also picking up migrants wandering on the streets.
Thousands have arrived at the frontier since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on February 28 that his government would no longer stop asylum seekers from trying to enter Europe.
Asked last week about the fate of migrants caught after crossing the Evros River into Greece, the migration ministry declined to comment.
Greek locals and people who have spent time on the border have confirmed the illegal practice.
"The army used to ask us to carry migrants across. Now they do it themselves," said a local man who declined to give his name.
Probe violence, EU asks Greece
The EU on Wednesday said they expect Greece to investigate violence against refugees and asylum seekers at the country's borders.
"We do expect the Greek authorities to investigate any allegations of illegal practices or violence," Adalbert Jahnz, European Commission spokesman, told a press briefing.
He said, the Greek authorities are facing a difficult task in dealing with an exceptional situation.
However, they have to do so in full compliance of fundamental rights and acting in a proportionate way, he added.
Jahnz also said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will visit Greece on Thursday to discuss the refugee situation among other issues.