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The Greek coastguard has denied any involvement in illegal activities.

The BBC's analysis, based on sources such as local media, NGOs, and the Turkish coastguard, identified 15 incidents between May 2020 and 2023, resulting in 43 fatalities. In these incidents, migrants reported being forced out of Greek territorial waters or returned to the sea after reaching Greek islands.

Five of these incidents involved migrants being thrown directly into the sea by Greek authorities. In several other cases, migrants were placed on inflatable rafts without motors, which then deflated or appeared punctured.

Specific Incidents

September 2021, Samos Island: A Cameroonian man described being apprehended by Greek authorities along with two others. He reported seeing his companions thrown into the sea, where they drowned. He survived but claims to have been beaten and thrown into the water without a life jacket. The bodies of his companions were later found on the Turkish coast.

March 2021, Chios Island: A Somali man recounted being tied up and thrown into the sea by the Greek coastguard. He survived by floating on his back and breaking free from his restraints, but three others in his group drowned.

September 2022, Rhodes Island: A Syrian man named Mohamed reported that after calling for help, his group was taken by the Greek coastguard back to Turkish waters and placed on life rafts, one of which started sinking immediately. Several children and his cousin died before the Turkish coastguard arrived.

Footage and Official Responses

Footage shown to Dimitris Baltakos, a former senior Greek coastguard officer, revealed people being loaded onto a Greek coastguard boat and then abandoned on a dinghy. Baltakos admitted off-camera that these actions were "obviously illegal" and "an international crime."

The Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy stated that the footage is under investigation by the National Transparency Authority. The Greek coastguard responded that its staff operate with "the utmost professionalism, a strong sense of responsibility and respect for human life and fundamental rights," and claimed to have rescued over 250,000 refugees/migrants in 6,161 incidents from 2015 to 2024.

Despite these claims, the Greek government has been repeatedly accused of "pushbacks," a practice where migrants are forced back to Turkey, which is illegal under international law. Greece remains a primary entry point for migrants into Europe, with 41,561 arrivals last year out of 263,048 total sea arrivals in Europe.

The investigation continues, with calls for further scrutiny into these allegations and the practices of the Greek coastguard.

For more detailed information, the original report can be found on BBC News.