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Pakistan did not accept its nationals extradited from Greece, Austria and Bulgaria

04 December 2015 / 19:12:29  GRReporter
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27-year-old-Yasser came to Greece from Pakistan six years ago. Until his arrest, for having illegally entered the country, four months ago, he had worked in a clothes shop in the Athens district of Patissia. And here he is, on Wednesday, standing by the Amigdaleza refugee centre's exit, expecting to be extradited to Pakistan.

"My family does not know I am coming back to Islamabad. I tried to stay back in Greece but my asylum application was rejected", he told Kathimerini. Along with another 38 Pakistanis, he was included in the first extradition to Pakistan over the last 18 months, organised by Frontex and the Aliens Directorate of Attica.


"Of the 39 Pakistani nationals, 32 have been convicted for various offences, e.g. theft, burglaries and drug trafficking", explains Kyriaki Kyriakopoulou, head of the extradition department.

31 years old Abid, for instance, has served a four-year sentence for battering another Pakistani national. "I came to Greece 17 years ago. I used to live in Crete and worked at a greenhouse in Rethymno. I was convicted for beating up and robbing a Pakistani. I spent four years in jail, and in November 2014 the Court of Appeal set me free. However, they thought I was "dangerous for the country", shipped me to Amigdaleza and now, after 17 years in Greece, I am going back to Pakistan. I won't stay there, though, I have a wife and a child in Crete, I am going to come back", he says.

The process

The action of the Aliens Directorate led by its chief, Brigadier General Manolis Grigorakis, began shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday. All 39 immigrants gathered at the Refugee Centre turned in their belongings, underwent a search and then mounted the bar-windowed police bus to be taken first into custody at the directorate's detention facility on P. Ralli Boulevard, and thereafter to Eleftherios Venizelos airport. Each Pakistani was accompanied by two policemen.


"The task is considered easy: there is a direct flight to Islamabad," says a young police officer, and adds: "We are entitled to €140 of compensation and two extra days off." The aircraft (owned by a Spanish company) was hired by Frontex. Apart from their Greek counterparts, Austrian and Bulgarian police officers also take part in the operation. They accompany "their own" Pakistani detainees: 9 and 4, respectively.

Initially, the flight was scheduled for 4 November and was supposed to ship 65 Pakistani nationals to Islamabad. But a day earlier, the Pakistani government refused landing on the pretext that Greece had not submitted a request 15 days prior to the flight. The Greek police immediately filed a new request and the flight was rescheduled for 2 December. Meanwhile, about 20 prisoners filed asylum applications to prevent being extradited. Although the asylum office had them instantly rejected, the 20 managed to evade the flight.



Tuesday, a day before the flight, Islamabad created new obstacles. The Greek authorities were advised that it would only accept those, for which the Greek police has filed readmission requests, but refused to take those who had obtained their passports from the Pakistani embassy in Athens. "The Consul of Pakistan visited us at Amigdaleza. I told him I didn't want to go back. They can't force me back," says 22-year-old Ali, who had worked in a car wash until his arrest in Agioi Anargyroi for possession of false documents.

The police convoy with the immigrants arrives at Exit Β 16 of Eleftherios Venizelos Airport shortly after 8 pm. Boarding time is at 11 PM and meanwhile police officers are handing out sandwiches and water to the immigrants and talking with their Austrian and Bulgarian counterparts, with the Italian Frontex monitor and the Ombudsman representatives who keep an eye on the process.


Replying to Kathimerini's questions, police officer and mission chief Argyris Georgoulyas said: "We started to participate in the Frontex joint extradition flights back in 2008. But in 2014 we could no longer cover the cost of overseas travels. Therefore, we soon agreed with Frontex that all return flights stop in Athens. Since early October, we have taken part in flights to Nigeria, Georgia and Albania. "

The plane took off from Athens airport shortly after 23:00 p.m., and landed in Islamabad a few hours later. The local police only allowed the disembarking of 13 out of the 39 Pakistanis. The rest were put back on the plane to make their way …. back to Greece. Pakistan also turned down some of the immigrants deported by the Austrian and Bulgarian authorities.

Tags: extradition Pakistan Aliens Directorate readmission Frontex
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