European MPs call for investigation of migrant’s death on Greek border

More than 100 members of the European Parliament have written to the European Commission to demand a formal investigation into the death of Muhammad Gulzar, a migrant who was shot dead in March at Turkey’s border with Greece, Sky News said. 

The letter, sent to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was prompted by reports by Sky News and German magazine Der Spiegel, and an investigation by open-source groups Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports and Forensic Architecture, that found the bullets likely came from the Greek side of the border.  

"We... expect that the European Commission takes its responsibility to undertake a thorough investigation to the findings revealed by the reconstruction, which give rise to grave concerns, and to report its findings to the European Parliament,” the letter read.

"If both the Greek government and the European Commission remain unresponsive to these allegations, we would witness an impunity which cannot be tolerated in a union that is based on respect for the rule of law."

Gulzar was shot dead on March 4 as thousands of migrants gathered near Edirne on the Turkey-Greece border. Turkey opened its side of the border to migrants and refugees in late February, leading to tense confrontations with Greek security forces throughout March.

Gulzar was among seven men hit with live rounds near the border fence on the morning of March 4, Sky News said. Turkey accused the Greek side of firing the bullets, but Greece issued a denial and dismissed the incident as “fake news”.

However, Sky News and the investigation by Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Forensic Architecture found that the bullets which hit Gulzar and the other men likely came from the Greek side of the border. 

The Greek government has continued to insist that that no live rounds were fired on the border at that time. But they have not provided an alternative explanation for the shootings, Sky News said. 

In their letter, the MEPs asked: "Did the commission receive any counter evidence or investigative reports from the Greek government that legitimise this position and the categorisation of these allegations as 'fake news'?"

Sky News obtained documents revealing that Gulzar, 42, had lived in Greece since 2008. He had returned to Pakistan in January to see family and to get married.

Gulzar did not have residency in Greece but is thought he had been trying to obtain it, Sky News said.