Sur­vivors of sea tragedy say were kicked, threat­ened

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Sur­vivors of a tragic in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a boat car­ry­ing un­doc­u­mented mi­grants in the Aegean, which re­sulted in sev­eral drown­ings, were yes­ter­day trans­ferred to Pi­raeus where they told re­porters that coast guard of­fi­cers had pushed and threat­ened them.

The 16 mi­grants who ar­rived in Pi­raeus yes­ter­day had been on the smug­gling boat that was spot­ted by a coast guard ves­sel on Mon­day. Another 12 peo­ple – three women and nine chil­dren – had been on the boat, two of whom were found drowned on Wed­nes­day.

One sur­vivor claimed that coast guard of­fi­cers kicked his wife as she tried to climb back into the boat af­ter fall­ing into the sea. Another claimed that mi­grants were threat­ened with guns and that of­fi­cers “stood by and watched women and chil­dren drown.”

The in­ci­dent prompted the United Na­tions refugee agency, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional and the Euro­pean Coun­cil’s com­mis­sioner for hu­man rights, Nils Muiznieks, to call for an in­quiry. Re­act­ing yes­ter­day, Mer­chant Ma­rine Min­is­ter Mil­tiadis Varvit­si­o­tis in­sisted that the coast guard of­fi­cers had tried to save the mi­grants and ac­cused “Muiznieks and oth­ers” of want­ing to cre­ate “a po­lit­i­cal is­sue in Greece.” He noted that nei­ther PASOK, which shares power with New Democ­racy in the coali­tion, nor the left­ist SYRIZA had sought a brief­ing on the in­ci­dent. “I don’t think any­one wants us to open the gates and al­low all im­mi­grants to en­joy asy­lum in this coun­try,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.