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Probe called over Greek coast guard's role in deaths ถ าย บอลof migrants

Effort | ถ าย บอล | Updated: 2024-07-23 14:24:43

A migrant saved from the Mediterranean Sea on Monday is assisted in Roccella Ionica, southern Italy. VALERIA FERRARO/AP

The main opposition party in Greece has called for an inquiry after allegations made by the BBC that the actions of the country's coast guard service has led to the deaths of dozens of migrants over the past three years, with nine of them allegedly deliberately thrown into the sea.

The BBC showed footage, previously published by The New York Times, of 12 people being put into a Greek coast guard boat and then abandoned on a dinghy, to a former senior official from the coast guard.

After viewing the footage, with his microphone still on, he was heard saying that the actions were "obviously illegal" and "an international crime".

Greek government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis has insisted there was no evidence to support the allegations.

"Our understanding is that what is reported is not proved," he told reporters at a scheduled government media briefing, adding that it was unfair to target coast guards who "save dozens of human lives every day".

But Giorgos Psychogios of the center-left Syriza party said: "We demand an in-depth investigation, we demand answers, we demand accountability, and the reason we do it is this.

"We care about all human life, and we cannot get used to the loss of human life."

Greece and its many islands have long been a magnet for people crossing the Mediterranean Sea in small boats from North Africa and the Middle East, trying to gain entry to the European Union.

Another popular destination for migrants is Italy, whose coast guard officials said on Monday that 11 people died and more than 60 were missing following two migrant shipwrecks off the country's southern shores.

German aid group Resqship, which operates the Nadir rescue boat, said it picked up 51 people from a sinking wooden boat and found 10 bodies trapped in the lower deck of the vessel.

Rescuing survivors

Survivors were handed over to the Italian coast guard and taken ashore on Monday morning, while the Nadir was making its way to the Italian island of Lampedusa, towing the wooden boat with the deceased, the charity said.

The second shipwreck took place about 200 kilometers east of the Italian region of Calabria, as a boat that had set off from Turkiye caught fire and overturned, according to a few United Nations agencies.

They said 64 people were missing at sea, while 11 were rescued and taken ashore by the Italian coast guard, along with the body of a woman.

The incidents confirmed the central Mediterranean's reputation as one of the world's most dangerous migration routes. According to UN data, more than 23,500 migrants have died or gone missing in its waters since 2014.

Greece has often been accused of pushing boats back into the waters of neighboring Turkiye, which is illegal. And based on data from sources including local media, nonprofits and the Turkish coast guard, it has been calculated that 15 incidents between May 2020 and May 2023 have led to 43 deaths.

Last year, officials in Greece reported that an estimated 500 people had drowned off Messenia on the coast of Italy, when a boat called the Adriana, with as many as 750 people on board, was lost at sea.

But the Financial Times reported that the recent BBC documentary film Dead Calm: Killing in the Med? has dug further into the story and has come up with disturbing claims.

It alleged that while Greek coast guards had said the boat overturned because of "commotion" on the deck, firsthand accounts suggested that before it sank, a Greek special forces team had tried to force the boat out of the country's waters, and search and rescue efforts were described as "delayed and inadequate".

It also included claims that people who had crossed to the Greek islands were forced out to sea again in unsafe vessels by masked individuals, and that others were beaten or thrown into the waves.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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