An amateur video that aired on Bulgarian TV appears to show three migrants with their hands tied behind their backs and a group of vigilantes ordering them to return to Turkey. It is the latest case of private citizens taking matters into their own hands amid Europe’s migration crisis.
The migrants, carrying backpacks, are lying on the ground restrained with black zip ties. One of the men surrounding the trio tells them, “No Bulgaria. Go back (to) Turkey,” and that they should leave immediately. One of the migrants nods his head to indicate that he understands.
Prosecutors in the region near with the border with Turkey have launched an investigation over what they believe is a case of unlawful detention, which under Bulgaria’s criminal code is punishable by up to six years imprisonment.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the video was shot, but it appears to be in an area near the Bulgaria-Turkey border. It aired on multiple Bulgarian TV stations on Monday, after the video first appeared on social media with a comment reading: “DETENTION OF MIGRANTS AND RETURN TO TURKEY.” It also said there was no need to call police and that “we are acting on our own!”
The vigilantes have remained anonymous, but the case has sparked a fierce debate on social media in Bulgaria between those who support and oppose the group’s actions.