Police detain Dutch TV crew that entered restricted area of Greek-Turkish border

Evros border police

Police detained a Dutch TV crew after they entered a restricted area of the Greek-Turkish border.

The crew from Dutch broadcaster VPRO were detained on May 29 at Dikaia while reporting illegal migration movements in the area.

VPRO reporter Bram Vermeulen, who communicated with CPJ via email, admitted that the crew, comprising of him, a camera operator, sound engineer, researcher, and translator, were in a restricted area.

Police ordered them to stop filming, and took all five to a local police station for questioning.

At the station, officers demanded to see the team’s video footage, which they refused to hand over; after about an hour, police told them not to return to that area and then released them without charge, Vermeulen said.

Meanwhile, the border in Evros, where Dikaia is located, is European and will be protected, stated European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas last week.

“We have the largest Frontex land operation in Europe here, at this border. It is a European border that is guarded and also a border that symbolises European values because we can protect our borders while at the same time respecting human rights and freedoms and European values,” Schinas said during his visit to the border station at Kipi last Friday.

It was the EU executive’s third visit to Evros.

Greece installs ‘powerful sound cannons’ to deter illegal migrants at the Evros border

In addition to the new border fence in Evros, powerful sound cannons have been set up in Alexandroupolis, alongside the Maritsa river, to stop migrants entering the EU illegally.

According to the Associated Press, the long-range acoustic devices, fitted to armoured trucks, are capable of unleashing a blast as loud as a jet engine over the Turkish border.

They emit powerful sound waves which may cause pain and shock to the human body.

Police Maj. Dimonsthenis Kamargios, head of the region’s border guard authority, said: “Our task is to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. We need modern equipment and tools to do that.”

Observation towers are also being fitted with long-range cameras, night vision, and multiple sensors.

Illegal migration flows into Greece significantly decreased from 2019 to 2020.

“From 72,000 in 2019, they decreased to about 15,000 in 2020 and have been reduced to just 2,500 in the first four months of 2021,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said last month.

Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi also revealed that the aim of reducing illegal migrant flows into Greece is to end the country being a “gateway for smuggling networks.”

READ MORE: Turkey says torture, murder of 86-year-old Greek man is “not a hate crime.”