Athens, Greece – A 26-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan is going through 10 years in jail in Greece for the demise of his five-year-old son, who drowned after boarding a dinghy from Turkey to Turkey. Greece along with his father on November 8, 2020.
Hafez, the pseudonym of a defendant who spoke to Al Jazeera on situation of anonymity, will seem in courtroom on Wednesday, charged with endangering the lifetime of his youngster.
Hafez whispered as he remembered the fateful journey that led to his son’s demise.
He described holding his son tightly when the boat with 24 folks on board hit rocks off the Greek island of Samos within the jap Aegean and capsized.
The boy disappeared into the water and was later discovered by Greek authorities, washed up on the shores of Cape Prasso, a steep and treacherous rocky a part of the island, generally known as the “Nostril of Dying”.
Hafez finds it tough to enter particulars of that evening however says he went to Europe, as tons of of hundreds of others have completed, in quest of a greater life for his kids.
His asylum utility was denied twice in Turkey and he faces deportation to Afghanistan.
“I got here right here for my son’s future,” he stated, recalling the numerous instances his son requested him when he may go to highschool.
Hafez couldn’t perceive why he was going through a jail sentence for the tragic occasion that noticed his son die.
“Not simply me. There are lots of individuals who have misplaced their households, their sons, their wives. [en route to Greece], “I stated. “What can they show? That accident occurred to us? “
Hafez’s son was certainly one of many kids who died within the Aegean looking for security in Europe.
One of the well-known circumstances is that of a two-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdiwho drowned after his boat capsized en route from Turkey to Greece, and whose physique washed up on a Turkish seashore in 2015.
Kurdi will change into a logo of the refugee disaster as greater than one million folks search asylum in Europe.
Hafez’s lawyer, Dimitris Choulis, stated that to the very best of his data, Hafez’s case is the primary case the place an asylum seeker has been charged in Greece for the demise of his youngster in a shipwreck.
Choulis informed Al Jazeera that he believes the costs in opposition to his consumer haven’t any advantage.
“I imagine he will likely be presumed harmless,” he stated firmly.
The timeline of occasions that evening within the Aegean can also be in query. Choulis stated it took authorities greater than six hours to conduct a rescue operation that evening.
Aegean Boat Report, a Norwegian NGO that displays asylum seekers arriving in Greece and is usually contacted by these in misery, confirmed to Al Jazeera that they referred to as Samos port police at 12: 06 am on 8 November (21:06 GMT on 11 November). 7), 2020 to inform them of arrivals and disappearances.
Based on Choulis, asylum seekers who had boarded the rock from the shipwreck testified that they noticed an space patrol boat shine its lights on them however then left.
The Greek coast guard informed media it initially answered a misery name however couldn’t discover anybody.
At 6 a.m. (03:00 GMT), Hafez, who was aggressively trying to find his son, confronted cops and informed them what had occurred.
By the point his son was discovered that morning, it was too late to save lots of him. The boy’s physique was recovered close by of a pregnant girl, who was unconscious however alive and gave delivery just a few days later at a hospital on the island.
The ordeal didn’t finish there, Choulis remembers Hafez later being handcuffed to dismember his son’s physique.
The lawyer recalled ready outdoors for the bereaved after he noticed his son’s physique. Choulis stated that Hafez couldn’t deal with it.
“Once they come [out] his handcuffs had been eliminated, [the police officers] Choulis stated.
“I don’t assume he was ever fantastic after that.”
Choulis additionally represents one other asylum seeker, Hasan (one other pseudonym), who will seem in courtroom on the identical day as Hafez, for being the pilot of the boat Hafez and his son are in.
Hasan, additionally from Afghanistan, is going through life in jail for the 5-year-old boy’s demise, a most of 230 years in jail for endangering the lives of 23 folks excluding himself.
Hasan is certainly one of a rising variety of asylum seekers who’ve confronted smuggling expenses in Greece for being on the helm of the boat, in what human rights teams and teachers say is a sample Migration is rising.
Hasan stated he was pressured to steer the boat by smugglers and had no selection however to conform.
Dr Gemma Hen, senior lecturer in politics and worldwide relations on the College of Liverpool, stated: “This trial is a part of a broader sample of criminalizing these looking for security. from battle and persecution, in addition to the people and organizations that search to help them,” Dr Gemma Hen, senior lecturer in politics and worldwide relations on the College of Liverpool UK, informed Al. Jazeera.
“In recent times we’ve seen comparable issues occur in Greece and Italy in addition to violent reactions by state authorities on the land and sea borders,” she stated. throughout Europe, issues which were proven time and time once more to place folks in danger.”
On 5 Could 2022, three asylum seekers from Syria, who had been on board a ship that capsized off the Greek island of Paros in December 2021, had been convicted for “facilitating entry illegally” entered Greece and had been sentenced collectively to 439 years in jail.
‘Onerous however truthful’
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has persistently defended his nation’s strategy to migration, dismissing studies of asylum seekers on the border being illegally hindered and stressing that Authorities should adjust to the legislation.
Mitsotakis stated the nation has a “powerful however truthful” immigration coverage the place human rights are absolutely revered.
Greek Immigration Minister Notis Mitarachi, talking of Hafez’s case to the media, stated it was vital that the circumstances of any deaths had been completely investigated.
“If there’s lack of life, then it must be investigated whether or not some folks, negligently or deliberately, acted outdoors the bounds of the legislation,” he stated.
“Those that select to board unworthy boats, and are piloted by these with no sea expertise, are clearly placing human lives in danger.”
Hafez nonetheless doesn’t know the right way to decide up the items of his life from that evening.
“What’s been on my thoughts for a very long time, I need to erase it, however I can’t,” he stated.
Hafez will seem in courtroom this week in Samos, the island the place his son is buried in a cemetery together with many others who’ve perished looking for asylum in Greece.
“I believed perhaps it might be protected for my son right here, perhaps I might construct my son’s future right here,” Hafez stated slowly. “I haven’t been myself since then.”
A spokesman for the Greek Overseas Ministry informed Al Jazeera they may not touch upon the trial.
The case is beneath judicial investigation and the courtroom’s resolution can’t be commented on by the Greek authorities, because the judiciary is impartial, the ministry stated.