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Police Brutality Shown to Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in Greece

greece-migrantsDoctors Without Borders have reported violence at the Reception and Identification Center of Morias at Lesbos. The case came to light when 12 Pakistani minors visited the medical center on June 24, accompanied by the center’s chief for an examination. The young refugees were found to be in a state of shock. Some of the children had bruises, red-shot eyes and other marks on their wrists. A few of the children complained that their heads hurt, whereas one of the children suffered from a nosebleed.
The children stated that there had been rock-throwing between unaccompanied refugee minors from wards A and B during the night for reasons unknown. A rock hit one of the police officers on duty who, according to refugees, lost his calm and entered the ward, punching one of the minors.
The minor said that the officer threatened to return him to Turkey if he reported the violent behavior. The children reacted to the threats, and were taken to the holding center from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. the next day where they were forced to squat in a seated position without their knees touching the ground. Whoever wobbled was struck on the back with water bottles.
Following the examination, the doctor referred the children for further examination to the Bostanio Hospital of Mytilene. The Doctors Without Borders organization as well as a representative of the UNHCR state that police officers hovered over the emergency ward and intervened during the examination.
In a letter to Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, the doctors call for justice to be served and for measures to be taken so that similar incidents can be prevented from happening again. The police administration of Lesvos has called for an investigation. There are currently 92 underage refugees from 12 to 17 years of age at the center. Around 70 of these have been held there since May, 12 since April and 10 arrived in June. The law states that they should not be held there for more than 25 days.

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