msf.org | 25 October 2022
People found handcuffed and injured on the Greek island of Lesvos
On 20 October 2022, an emergency team from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) received an official alert about a group of people, newly arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos, in need of urgent medical care. When an MSF team arrived on site, they found three people tightly handcuffed and four injured, reportedly from beatings.
“That day, we were called for an emergency intervention,” says Teo Di Piazza, MSF project coordinator in Lesvos. “As we were approaching the location, on a mountain, we started hearing people screaming, a lot of screaming.
“We were worried and started running in their direction. When we arrived, we found 22 people,” says Di Piazza. “Everybody was crying; women, children and men. Three people were handcuffed very tightly with plastic bundles. Four others were injured. Based on their reports, the injuries were due to violence from a group of people who had left when we approached.”
“We could see people were in a critical state,” says Teo Di Piazza. “We had to call one of our psychologists to provide emergency psychological first aid to the group.” The four injured people were referred to the hospital.
“According to testimonies, shortly before we arrived, seven or eight people approached the group, saying they were doctors and they had food,” says Di Piazza. “They reportedly started to beat them and handcuff them as soon as they found them. And when they heard us, the group told us the other people immediately ran away.”
MSF teams have heard similar testimonies of violence occurring when people arrive on Lesvos and Samos islands to seek safety after a traumatic journey. These reports are extremely concerning and we urge the appropriate state authorities to take all necessary measures to prevent and stop such incidents from happening. People must have access to safe reception, protection and asylum procedures.