'High probability' Greece killed Syrian refugee at Turkish border, investigation finds

'High probability' Greece killed Syrian refugee at Turkish border, investigation finds
3 min read
06 July, 2020
Athens is accused of killing at least two migrants after thousands of asylum seekers gathered at its border with Turkey in March.
Athens denies using live fire at its borders with Turkey [Getty]
Greek forces were likely responsible for the death of a Syrian refugee at the Turkish-Greek border earlier this year,
a new investigation has found.

Mohammed Al-Arab, a 22-year-old from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, died in early March who was among thousands of migrants and asylum seekers who massed at the Turkish-Greek border after Ankara announced it would reopen its borders.

Turkey and human rights organisations allege that Greek forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds at the migrants hoping to reach Europe. Athens has rejected claims its forces used live fire in March.

Evidence reviewed by Forensic Architecture, a research group based at Goldsmiths University in London, "strongly suggests" Arab was shot dead by a group of Greek soldiers, The Financial Times reported.

Researchers analysed mobile phone video footage and interviewed eyewitnesses over the course of a three-month investigation.

"It is highly probable that he was shot by Greek soldiers, and very unlikely that he was shot by Turkish soldiers," researcher Stefanos Levidis told The Financial Times.

Forensic Architecture's findings will be presented before the European parliament on Monday, when officials from the European Commission and Greek government will be questioned over the deaths of Arab and a Pakistani migrant the Greek-Turkish border.

An earlier report by Forensic Architecture also suggested Greek border forces were responsible for the death of Pakistani Muhammad Gulzar at the border. The investigation also implicated Greek forces in the injury of six other people by live bullets.

The hearing comes after a request from more than 100 MEPs. 

Speaking to The Financial Times, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis again denied that his forces had used live fire against migrants and asylum seekers.

"I have seen absolutely no definitive evidence regarding what happened on the border, we have always used what we consider to be measured force to protect our borders," he said.

Athens has also been accused of using force to illegally push back migrants and asylum seekers from its sea borders.

In April, Amnesty International reported that at least two people were killed at the border the previous month.

While Amnesty could not confirm who fired the bullets, the human rights organisation said the rounds were fired from an area where Greek forces were present.

A third person, a woman refugee from Syria, also went missing and is presumed dead after Greek forces fired live rounds at her family, according to Amnesty.

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