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Turkey rescues Yemeni migrant thrown overboard, left to drown by Greece

Wednesday September 29, 2021

Yemeni national says 2 others drowned after being thrown overboard by Greek Coast Guard in middle of Aegean Sea

A Yemeni irregular migrant claimed on Tuesday that he and two others had been thrown off a vessel into the Aegean Sea by the Greek Coast Guard.

The migrant told Anadolu Agency they had been searched, stripped, and beaten by the Greek forces, who then took them out to sea and threw them overboard.

The other two migrants with him, including a woman, had drowned in the incident that occurred on Sept. 23.

This was the second such event that reportedly occurred in the past five days.

On Sept. 18, a Cameroon national had made similar claims that he and two others had also been thrown off a Greek Coast Guard vessel in the Aegean Sea.

He, likewise, said he had managed to swim ashore but the two other migrants with him had drowned.

Turkish Gendarmerie identified the Yemeni national in the same region. He said they had made it to the Greek island of Samos, less than two kilometers from the Turkish coast, on a boat from the Izmir province in western Turkey with a group of Somali, Syrian, and Palestinian migrants.

He recounted that, having reached a camp area, he approached a person who he had thought was an official to convey his asylum request. He recounted that this person affirmed his request, asking him to wait while he made a phone call.

"When night came, two people dressed in masks and fully covered arrived. They acted in violence against me. One hit my forehead with a hammer and one hit me on the head. They hit the back of my left shoulder and my left knee, again with a hammer."

"My head kept bleeding for an hour. I was there alone. They brought a civilian vehicle to get me out of there, I wasn't unconscious. I saw that there was a veiled person inside."

"After taking me to the car, they opened the door and brought two Somali nationals. One was a woman and one was a man. They, like me, were strip-searched after being caught. They took their phones and money. They put us in this civilian vehicle and took us to the beach."

There, he recounted, they were put on Greek Coast Guard boat from which they were later thrown into the sea without life buoys, even though the Greek forces were aware that the other two migrants could not swim.

After making it back to the Turkish shore, he said he was found by Turkish gendarmerie. "They took me to the police station, gave me food, water, and blankets. I thought I was reborn."

After questioning the Yemeni migrant, joint search and rescue efforts were launched with the Turkish Coast Guard, which recovered the lifeless bodies of two irregular migrants on the shore on Sept. 24.


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