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Report by Marta Moreno

On the 20th of July a 24-years-old man from Afghanistan was travelling within a group of 25 people through some forested area in Bulgaria.

The survivor of the pushback tells that the group left Istambul and crossed the Bulgarian border from where they walked for five days.

As the survivor reports it was not the first time he suffered an illegal pushback by Bulgarian authorities.

“Ten times I was trying to cross there and ten times the police pushed me back, the last one two weeks ago”.

The survivor remembers that on the fifth day, while they were walking near a local road, one vehicle approached the group. According to him the vehicle had Bulgarian flags on the sides, from where three men wearing “the typical Bulgarian police clothes” stepped out.

Due to the stressful situation he can’t remember any specific details, but recalls the police officers having a dog on a leash with them.

The police officers forced them to take their clothes and shoes off and then started to beat them with electric shock sticks “and with any other thing they found on the floor”.

The survivor recalls how the police officers ordered the dog to attack them.

“When the dog bite us, they laugh. They were even talking in English with the dog”.

According to him, after the beating the Bulgarian police officers put all the people from the transit group in cars and pushed them back to Turkey. “They took even the food we had with us. When they dropped us in Turkey we didn’t have even shoes”, states the survivor.

“They took even the food we had with us. When they dropped us in Turkey we didn’t have even shoes”

According to the survivor no possibility to request asylum was given to the group, and he states that they were taken directly to the border with Turkey.

This report was taken in Šid (Serbia) where people on the move arrive after travelling for days, or weeks, with the intention of crossing into Croatia and reach different countries in the European Union.

From No Name Kitchen we want to remind that people need to cross borders through these dangerous routes because the European Union does not offer other alternatives to apply for asylum. With legal and safe ways to migrate, people would not risk their lives and health by these routes.

Illegal push-backs and violations of Human Rights, as well as all acts of physical and psychological violence, are unjustified and condemnable.