Greece’s Migration Minister refuted allegations that 24 migrants who allegedly arrived in southern Greece last September were push backed back by Coast Guard officials, describing the reports as “organized propaganda.”
“Our country is facing an orchestrated attack by the industry of illicit rings that smuggle illegal immigrants. There is an organized propaganda against her. It is self-evident that Greece guards its borders, with absolute respect for the international and European context,” Notis Mitarakis told Parliament on Monday, responding to a question submitted by Kriton Arsenis, an MP with left-wing party MeRA25.
Arsenis cited reports in Greek media, according to which 24 people from Iraq who landed on September 22 at a beach in Messinia, southern Peloponnese, after their sailing boat ran aground, disappeared shortly after their arrival.
When asked at the time, the local Coast Guard denied that they had encountered migrants that day, despite the fact that local residents reported they had offered food and water to the new arrivals, the lawmaker said.
“No such incident has been recorded. It goes without saying that when there are specific complaints and specific evidence, they will be investigated through independent authorities and the judiciary,” Mitarakis said.
With numerous media reporting on alleged pushbacks in Greece and other EU members and after continued pressure by the European Commission, the Greek government finally agreed last Friday to investigate reports of incidents at the border.