Migrants found beaten, handcuffed on Greek island of Lesbos: Doctors Without Borders

Medical team 'started hearing people screaming, a lot of screaming … Everybody was crying; women, children and men,' says aid group coordinator on island.

Migrants found beaten, handcuffed on Greek island of Lesbos: Doctors Without Borders

A group of migrants was found beaten and handcuffed on the Greek island of Lesbos (Midilli), said Doctors Without Borders on Tuesday.

Of a group of 22 migrants newly arrived on the island, three were found tightly handcuffed and four injured, reportedly by beating, said the international aid group in a statement.

Approaching the migrants, a Doctors Without Borders emergency team “started hearing people screaming, a lot of screaming,” the statement quoted Teo Di Piazza, the group’s project coordinator on Lesbos, as saying.

“We were worried and started running in their direction … Everybody was crying; women, children and men,” he added.

The migrants said that seven or eight people had “approached the group, saying they were doctors and they had food. They reportedly started to beat them and handcuff them as soon as they found them,” according to Di Piazza.

When they heard the doctors approaching, the assailants ran away.

“We could see people were in a critical state,” said Di Piazza. “We had to call one of our psychologists to provide emergency psychological first aid to the group.”

The four injured people were taken to the hospital, said the aid group statement.

Doctors Without Borders teams, said the statement, “have heard similar testimonies of violence occurring when people arrive on Lesvos and Samos islands to seek safety after a traumatic journey. These reports are extremely concerning and we urge the appropriate state authorities to take all necessary measures to prevent and stop such incidents from happening.”

It added: “People must have access to safe reception, protection and asylum procedures.”

For years, human rights groups and Turkish officials have documented cases of irregular migrants being beaten, abused, stripped of their clothes, and their belongings stolen when they cross the border into Greece, by land or by sea, often at the hands of Greek border guards. They have urged the enactment of reforms and other measures to stop such incidents, which violate international law.

Hüseyin Demir

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