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Greece boat tragedy survivors testify Pakistanis were maltreated, forced below deck

Conditions on the boat were so bleak that even before it sank there had already been six deaths after it ran out of fresh water, the report

Greece boat tragedy survivors testified that Pakistanis were maltreated and forced below deck!

A British newspaper reported accounts of survivors of the tragedy “leaked” to the media that indicated that Pakistanis have been singled out by the human smugglers’ crew of the boat.

Pakistani nationals appear to have been singled out on the trawler that sank off Greece’s coast last Wednesday with hundreds of passengers feared dead.

The report by the British publication has also raised questions about the Greek coastguard for their alleged role in the “cover-up” of the tragedy as about 500 people are still missing.

According to the newspaper report, “new accounts from survivors indicate that women and children were forced to travel in the hold and that certain nationalities were condemned to the most dangerous part of the trawler.”

The report claims that the survivors told coastguards that Pakistanis were forced below deck, with other nationalities allowed on the top deck, where they had a far greater chance of surviving a capsize.

The testimonies suggest women and children were effectively “locked up” in the hold, ostensibly to be protected by men on the overcrowded vessel.

The report revealed that Pakistani nationals were also kept below deck, with crew members maltreating them when they appeared in search of freshwater or tried to escape.

Conditions on the boat were so bleak that even before it sank there had already been six deaths after it ran out of fresh water, the report added.

According to Nawal Soufi, a Moroccan-Italian social worker and activist, passengers onboard the fishing boat were pleading for help a day before it sank.

“I can testify that these people were asking to be saved by any authority,” she said.

Her account contradicts that of the Greek government, which said passengers told the coastguard no request for help was made because they wanted to go to Italy.

New testimony also indicates that the trawler’s engine failed days before it sank, making it likely the crew would have sought help.

“We started the journey at dawn on Friday. Around 700 of us were on board,” one migrant is recorded as saying in testimony taken by coastguards overseeing the inquiry into the disaster.

“We were traveling for three days and then the engine failed.”

Four days after one of the worst disasters in the Mediterranean in recent years, the discrepancy is only one of a series of unanswered questions, including what prompted the vessel to capsize. Of concern are claiming that it was overturned in the early hours of Wednesday because a rope was attached by coastguards.

However, the allegations were rejected by Greek officials.

At first, the coastguard said it had kept a “discreet distance” from the boat, but on Friday a government spokesman confirmed a rope had been thrown to stabilize the boat.

Maurice Stierl, of the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies at Osnabrück University in Germany, said: “The Hellenic coastguard speaks of a sudden shift in weight. So what caused the sudden shift in weight? Was there a panic on board? Did something happen during the attempt to provide them with something? Or was it towed? And due to this towing, did the boat go down?”

At least 78 people were killed by drowning when the ill-fated boat with reportedly 400 to 750 people onboard sank in the Mediterranean Sea near the Greek coast.

Some 104 migrants were found alive till Friday and as of today, the still missing persons are presumed dead.

No women or children are reported to be among the survivors.

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