Legal Center Lesvos files complaint against Greece

Migrants were reported to be pushed violently back to rafts and into the sea

Magda Panoutsopoulou  | 27.04.2021 - Update : 27.04.2021
Legal Center Lesvos files complaint against Greece Lesbos Island on Greece ( Ayhan Mehmet - Anadolu Agency )


Legal Center Lesvos, a non-profit organization providing legal assistance to migrants in Greece, has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights against Greece on charges of illegal pushbacks by the Hellenic Coast Guard. 

According to Legal Center Lesvos, testimonials have been collected from 11 survivors who were part of a group of 180-200 migrants trying to flee to Italy.

The group, which included 40 children and a pregnant woman, were reported to have been violently pushed back into waters near the Turkish coast.

The report said their boat fell into distress at sea on Oct. 20, 2020 near Crete Island in southern Greece.

After alerting Greek authorities, multiple vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard accompanied by a search and rescue vessel escorted the boats towards Greek waters, where they were left for over five hours without food and water, the report said.

Video footage has been recorded showing migrants being forcibly transported into two Hellenic Coast Guard vessels and then abandoned in rafts near the Turkish coast.

Legal Center Lesvos argues that Greece has had five similar complaints that violate several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In addition, it said they possess evidence of migrants being met with violence, humiliation and torture from Greek authorities and ultimately abandoned at sea.

Several human rights groups including Legal Center Lesvos have highlighted the illegal acts committed by Greek authorities which according to the center are part of an ongoing and systematic practice, while Greek authorities continue to deny these allegations.

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