A video acquired by the New York Times and published on Friday shows the Greek coast guard abandoning migrants on a raft at sea, despite repeated denials by Greece’s New Democracy government that refugees and migrants are being pushed back.
The Times said a group of asylum seekers, including a 6-month-old infant, were left adrift after reaching Greece on a journey that took years from the Horn of Africa.
“We didn’t expect to survive on that day. When they were putting us on the inflatable raft, they did so without any mercy,” said Naima Hassan Aden, 27, the story claimed, saying it was backed up by a video obtained from an Austrian aid worker, Fayad Mulla.
According to the Times, Mulla has spent two and a half years on Lesbos trying to document abuses against refugees and that the video “may be the most damning evidence yet of the Greek authorities’ violation of international laws and EU (European Union) rules governing how asylum seekers must be treated.”
The Times said its investigation confirmed the footage that shows the group on the mainland being put into a van and then taken to a Coast Guard vessel, put aboard, taken out to sea, put on the raft and left to their fate.
To prepare its reportage, the Times interviewed 11 of the asylum seekers from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia who were found at a detention centre in Izmir, about what allegedly happened.
The Greek government didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment, the paper said.
Greece’s PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis is running for re-election in a poll scheduled to take place next Sunday, May 21.