„I was like a bird in a cage looking for freedom.“

We chatted with a man who was recently deported from Lesvos to Iraq. The Greek authorities took him from Moria Hotspot Camp to Turkey. From there he was taken to Iraq. It was a tragic experience for Farid (changed name). However, he is not the only one. More and more refugees are facing the same problem. They are deported to countries they wanted to leave in the first place. Unfortunately, such deportations are everyday examples of the structural violence of the border regime. 

Farid came to Europe because he had political problems and no longer felt safe in his country: “ Humanity is bleeding because of weapons makers and clergymen“, Farid openly expresses his opinion about the role of the USA, Great Britain, Israel, Russia and criticises clearly terrorists as well as clergymen. However, the Greek authorities rejected his asylum application. That was after he reached Lesbos and was taken to the Moria hotspot camp. That’s how Farid got into the deportation system.

First he was isolated in detention for 10 days in the closed section of the Moria Hotspot Camp. When asked how he had felt, he replies: „I was like a bird in a cage looking for freedom“. 

In the afternoon of 2nd July 2019, the authorities took him to the port of Mytilini. He knew what was coming. The previous day he had been told by the authorities to prepare for deportation. The deportation to Turkey was carried out by ferry. „The Greeks sent me politely. We were not handcuffed,“ stresses Farid. 

In Turkey, the group of rejected refugees was handed over to the Turkish police. The police immediately took them to a prison near Izmir. Farid describes the prison as a bad experience: „The prison was overcrowded. There were no beds, only blankets to sleep on. Access to the toilet was restricted. Communication with the outside world was also forbidden. The police shouted all the time. I also saw a policeman kicking someone wildly with his feet.“ 

Farid stayed in this prison for two days. Then the police handcuffed him and brought him to a bus. „It was a big, crowded bus. We were handcuffed during the whole time. Five policemen with guns kept us under constant observation. Access to the toilet was again restricted. When it was my turn, the policeman forced me to clean the toilet. They humiliated us.“ 

After 23 hours, the bus reached the border to Iraq. The Turkish police removed the handcuffs from the refugees and handed them over to the Iraqi police.

Fortunately, no one was arrested. Today Farid is free. However, he has to live with the same problems he faced before his emigration and he risked his life to get to Europe for nothing. In whose favour?

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