Refoulement of migrants: a Syrian claims compensation from Frontex

A Syrian claiming to be the victim of refoulement by the Greek authorities to Turkey has filed an appeal with European justice to obtain compensation from the Frontex agency which helps the Greek coast guard, the NGO told AFP on Thursday. who represents him.

The appeal was filed on March 10, according to the website of the Court of Justice of the EU. The applicant, Alaa Hamoudi, is claiming 500,000 euros in compensation from Frontex, the European border agency, which he accuses of complicity in this illegal refoulement on April 28 and 29, 2020, according to Front-Lex. This legal organization is already at the origin of a complaint before the CJEU in 2021 against the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. According to Front-Lex, Alaa Hamoudi arrived on that date with around 20 other asylum seekers on the Greek island of Samos, from where they were returned “by the authorities” on an overloaded rubber boat, and abandoned at sea for 17 hours while a plane “of Frontex was monitoring the situation», before being pushed back to Turkey, where the applicant now lives. Frontex intervenes in the Aegean Sea to help the Greek Coast Guard monitor the maritime borders with Turkey. Contacted by AFP, the agency did not react at first.

In October 2020, an investigation by the investigative site Bellingcat, the collaborative journalism organization Lighthouse Reports and several media including Der Spiegel, accused Frontex of complicity in pushbacks of migrants in Greek waters, a practice contrary to law international. This information led to the opening of several investigations within the EU on Frontex. That of the working group of the agency’s board of directors concluded that there was “no indication that the incident of 28-29 April reported by the media was observed by Frontex“, according to this management body. The European Anti-Fraud Office, Olaf, sent him the conclusions of its own investigations in February to the Frontex board of directors, but they are kept confidential. “Front-Lex is working on legal cases worth tens of millions of euros to obtain justice for the victims, hold the perpetrators accountable and ensure that this horrific practice ends“, explain the lawyers Omer Shatz, Iftach Cohen and Amanda Musco Eklund, who are working on this case. Human rights organizations regularly accuse Greece of “pushbacksat its border, which Athens denies.

The Frontex agency, created in 2004, saw its mandate extended in 2016 to help Member States fight against illegal immigration and cross-border crime. This mandate was further strengthened in 2019, by providing for the establishment of a permanent contingent of 10,000 members by 2027. Led by Frenchman Fabrice Leggeri, it is the EU’s largest agency, with a budget for 2022 of some 750 million euros.

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