A cross-border investigation by journalists was published on 17 February 2022 by Lighthouse Reports, the Guardian, Spiegel and Mediapart. The reports present evidence of how, in September 2021, three people who had arrived in Samos in order to seek international protection and to be granted refugee status were expelled back to Turkey by the Greek authorities, in violation of international law.
Two of them, Sidy Keita from Ivory Coast and Didier Martial Kouamou Nana from Cameroon, were found dead, survived only by the third person that was with them, who is referred to as Ibrahim (his name has been changed).
The three men arrived in Samos along with dozens of other people on the morning of September 15th, but were subsequently separated from the others. The three of them were arrested by the Greek authorities and, according to Ibrahim, taken to a port, forced onto a speedboat, beaten, and thrown into the sea without a life raft. Sidy Keita and Didier Martial drowned, while Ibrahim managed to swim to the Turkish coast, where he discovered Sidy’s body. Didier’s body was found a little later by the Turkish Coast Guard floating in the shallows, very close to the Turkish coast.
This report describes yet another serious allegation of illegal pushbacks by the Greek authorities, which in this case tragically led to the death of two people.
The refoulement, or illegal return, of refugees, according to the former president of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Lino-Alexandre Siciliano, is prohibited by Article 33 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the Geneva Convention.
In a state governed by the Rule of Law, the authorities must not illegally deport refugees and migrants from their territory, but rather, must ensure effective asylum procedures, which will protect applicants from war, anti-democratic regimes and other dangers in their countries of origin.
However, in this case, an investigation by Lighthouse Reports, Guardian, Spiegel and Mediapart reveals evidence that shows how the Greek authorities expelled three people, in violation of the country’s international obligations to protect asylum seekers. As a result, two of them lost their lives.
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