Varoufakis presses Mitsotakis over illegal pushbacks

Forensic Architecture’s investigation published on Friday reveals in shocking detail the abysmal crime of illegal pushbacks by the Greek government carried out between March 2020 and March 2022 – an inhumane policy that prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government is clearly practicing, while at the same time boasting about its results.

In the wake of the revelations on illegal migrant pushbacks, which involve over 27,000 migrants within the two year period, the Secretary General of MeRA25 in Greece, Yanis Varoufakis, has tabled an offical question to Mitsotakis. Read it in full below:

Will the Prime Minister continue to deny that his government is engaging in deadly illegal pushbacks in the Aegean today when a new, indisputable report by Forensic Architecture documents in chilling detail not one, not two, but 1,018 cases of illegal pushbacks for the period 3/20 to 3/22 alone – including cases with human victims that can only be described as criminal? Or is it time to stop vilifying the country by apologising to the international community?

Prime Minister,

Today’s Forensic Architecture report reveals, in shocking detail, the illegal pushbacks in the Aegean: 1,018 in the period March 2020-March 2022 alone, with 27,464 victims of our fellow human beings whose rights, clearly guaranteed by International Law, were violated by the Greek Coast Guard and FRONTEX at the behest of your government and the EU respectively. Among other chilling facts, this report demonstrates:

  • 26 recorded incidents where the Greek Coast Guard threw people overboard, two of them handcuffed!
  • Testimonies of beatings, confiscation of their few belongings, and forcibly putting them on board boats without engines that were pushed towards the Turkish coast without the slightest guarantee that they would not sink in the middle of the sea.
  • A specific case where 11 people drowned and four others are missing
  • Three cases where the pushbacks were carried out under the watchful eye of the crew of the German warship FGS Berlin.

I ask you:

  • How do you respond to Amnesty International and in particular to Ms Milena Marin (head of the international organisation’s Citizen Evidence Lab) who stated that “the systematic and widespread nature of the deadly practice of pushbacks is now beyond dispute”?
  • Will you once again resort to a denial that in the eyes of international public opinion will be interpreted as a confirmation, resulting in the continued vilification of the country and the loss of respect from citizens of the world who are inspired by the principles of Humanism?

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