Evros Pushback

H.T. v. Greece, European Court of Human Rights, Application No. 4177/21

In H.T. v. Greece, Legal Centre Lesvos’ legal team represents a family of 5 Syrian nationals, two adults and three children, who were repeatedly expelled from the Greek territory back to Turkey on at least three occasions, threatening their safety and denying them the right to seek asylum.

The family left Syria, in 2017, and fled to Turkey. In July 2020, growing fear about their safety and stability in Turkey, largely caused by widespread forced returns of Syrians in Turkey back to Syria, the family decided to cross the Evros river to reach Greece with 8 other people, with the intention of seeking international protection. After crossing the river, the group was arrested and taken into a detention centre in a white unmarked van by agents of the Greek authorities. The family was detained in inhuman and degrading conditions for approximately 12 hours in the Soufli Police Station where they did not have any access to food, water or sanitary items. At nightfall, the family was transported back to the Evros river where they were exposed to violence, and instructed to enter into a small, inflatable boat, before being pushed back to the Turkish side of the border. 

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