Breaking News: Man dies after push-back from Bulgaria

Several Turkish speaking news sites (citing an article of a journalist from the Anadolou Agency) were reporting about a new victim of the European Border Regime. The 28 year old Iranian Reza Hassani was missing for about 18 days. He was found dead in the jungles of Karacadağ. It was reported to Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) from another source that he was beaten up together with a friend and pushed back „by Bulgarians into Turkey“.  After the push-back he was rarely able to move and got stuck in the middle of nowhere without a phone or food. The police showed a photo of Reza Hassani’s dead corpse to his friend and told him that they will transport the body to the forensics-center in Istanbul.

It is still not clear if the push-back was done by Bulgarian border police or by members of one of the violent and nationalist voluntary groups. In the last weeks, it was reported by several international media that Tatjana Festerling, a former leading person of the German PEGIDA movement, and her colleague Edwin Wagensveld from the Netherlands showed solidarity with these groups. Some of these “voluntary“ groups hold connections to criminal organizations or are part of them. They are practicing physical violence and intimidation that produce strong permanent injuries and result sometimes even in push-backs to Turkey.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Interior (MoI) stated recently that, in the first half of 2016, 2,315 people were arrested for entering Bulgaria “illegally“ from Turkey and 332 people while they were trying to cross from Greece “illegally“ into Bulgaria. In the meantime the numbers of people who try to cross through Bulgaria seem to grow again, especially after the coup d’état attempt in Turkey. Bulgarian’s prime minister, Boyko Borissov, spoke about 150-200 people, who were arrested on a daily bases at the Turkish-Bulgarian border. In Nova TV, authorities spoke about additional “voluntary returns“ at the border. Until now, there are no statistics from the MoI about such cases. Frontex stated, that it “will significantly strengthen its ongoing activities at the countries land border“ and Nebojsa Stefanovic, the Serbian Interior Minister, made the offer to assist in patrolling the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

Update: Meanwhile, the body of Reza Hassani (in Turkish media also named Reza Jassani) has been taken by his family to Iran.

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