Migrants found 'handcuffed', 'injured' on Greek island: MSF

Published: 11:09 PM, 25 Oct, 2022
Migrants found 'handcuffed', 'injured' on Greek island: MSF
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Three migrants were found handcuffed and four seriously hurt on the Greek island of Lesbos, NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Tuesday, the latest reported attack on would-be refugees.

MSF said one of its emergency teams received "an official alert" on Thursday about a group of people "in need of urgent medical care" who had just arrived on Lesbos, one of the points of entry for would-be asylum-seekers and migrants into the European Union.

"We started hearing ... a lot of screaming," said Teo Di Piazza, MSF project coordinator in Lesbos.

"We found 22 people... Everybody was crying -- women, children and men.

"Three people were handcuffed very tightly with plastic bundles. Four others were injured. Based on their reports, the injuries were due to violence."

MSF said it had called in an emergency psychologist, referred the injured people to hospital and notified the police.

The Greek government, which has been repeatedly accused of pushing flimsy migrant boats back out to sea towards Turkey, thus preventing the passengers making asylum claims on Greek territory, has not reacted to the MSF report.

Di Piazza said the group had described being approached by "seven or eight people ... saying they were doctors and they had food.

"They reportedly started to beat them and handcuff them" and had run away when they heard the MSF team approaching, she said.

MSF said it had heard "similar testimonies of violence occurring" to people arriving on Lesbos and the nearby island of Samos.

"These reports are extremely concerning and we urge the appropriate state authorities to take all necessary measures to prevent and stop such incidents from happening. People must have access to safe reception, protection and asylum procedures," it said.

Greece's Conservative government has rejected persistent allegations from rights groups that it illegally pushes migrants back to neighbouring Turkey, which is not an EU member.

In July, Greek migration minister Notis Mitarachi told journalists, "We have the right to protect our borders. The EU has a right to protect its external borders."

On October 18, the European Parliament refused to validate the 2020 accounts of the EU's border force, Frontex, over its "misconduct" related to the handling of migrants.

Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri stepped down in April after a probe by the EU's anti-fraud office which found the border agency was complicit in illegal pushbacks by the Greek coast guard in 2020.

Categories : World

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