The five children, three women and five men, who managed to land on Lesvos, were forced to put into a raft on the pretext of taking a Covid-19 test, and then pushed back into the sea, the Aegean Boat Report, a Norwegian NGO, says.
A Norwegian NGO called Aegean Boat Report has said Greek authorities forced 13 migrants back into the sea, hours after they landed on the island of Lesvos in mid-February.
The five children, three women and five men arrived on the island on February 17, they shortly after managed to enter a refugee camp, the NGO said in a report.
However, the families were lured out by Greek officials on the pretext of taking a Covid-19 test.
Then, the families were robbed, beaten and forced into a van by the Greek officials "with dark military uniforms and balaclavas", before they were put on a raft in the middle of the night.
"All 13 people were forced into the raft, the boat with the Greek officers left the men, women and children alone, in the dark, helplessly drifting in the sea," the report said.
"Not one of the people, even the children, in the life raft were given life jackets, and sea water had already found its way into the life raft."
Greek authorities illegally force 13 migrants back into the sea, hours after they landed on the island of Lesvos mid-February, says Norwegian NGO pic.twitter.com/81uPFr4CKy— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) February 28, 2021
The refugees recorded their ordeal on a mobile phone and the recordings were published by the NGO.
The migrants later rescued by Turkish authorities.
In a separate incident, Turkish security forces rescued 29 irregular migrants beaten and deprived of their belongings by Greek soldiers, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Saturday in a statement.
“In the most recent event, 29 irregular migrants were brutally beaten by Greek soldiers. Their money, phones and even their shoes were confiscated,” the statement said.
The migrants were stranded on a small islet near the banks of the (Maritsa) River.
“In their testimonial, the migrants reported that they were beaten and all their belongings were taken by force by the Greek authorities who then tried to forcibly send them to Turkey,” the statement said.
'Crisis of the rule of law'
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The country hosts nearly 4 million refugees, including over 3.6 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.
Gerald Knaus of the European Stability Initiative told TRT World on Saturday that there is a dramatic crisis of the rule of law at the European Union's external border.
We talk to Gerald Knaus of the European Stability Initiative for more on Greece’s mistreatment of refugees pic.twitter.com/MUWBLBKc4M— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) February 27, 2021