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EU Lawmakers Want Probe of Migrant Death on Greece-Turkey Border

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The Evros River border in the northeast Greece. (Photo by Eurokinissi, file)

While Greek authorities have repeatedly denied a migrant shot dead on the border with Turkey was killed by Greek fire, more than 100 Members of the European Parliament called for a formal investigation.

The letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was prompted by a probe into the death of a Pakistani man, Muhammad Gulzar by investigators at Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports and Forensic Architecture, which was contributed to by Sky News and German magazine Der Spiegel.

The letter says: "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,” reported Sky News.

"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,” the letter added.

The site said Gulzar was shot dead in an incident on March 4 as thousands of migrants gathered at the European Union's southern frontier at Edirne on the Turkey-Greece border, where 10,000 were sent by Turkey which urged them to get across.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the tactic in a bid to get the European Union to take more refugees and migrants who went to Turkey fleeing war and strife in their homelands, many being sent to Greek islands.

Greece sent riot police and Army units to repel migrants trying to cross an area where the treacherous Evros River also separates the countries. Sky said that Gulzar was among seven men hit with live rounds near the border, Turkey blaming Greece.

Sky News probed the background of the victim and said it had obtained documents giving his name and that he had lived in Greece since 2008 and returned to Pakistan in January to see family and get married before trying to get back.

It wasn't said if, as claimed, he had lived in Greece for 12 years if he had papers proving it which would allow him to reenter without being in a crowd of migrants trying to get into Greece.

Gulzar did not have residency in Greece but is thought to have been in the process of trying to obtain it although living there for 12 years and was allegedly known to Greek immigration officials.

A joint report by the investigative journalist site Bellingcat, as well as Lighthouse Reports, and Forensic Architecture – which uses photorealistic digital renderings of 3D models, found it was likely that the bullets which hit  Gulzar and the other men came from the direction of the Greek side of the border but no proof was offered.

Greece has repeatedly said no live ammunition was used and the letter from 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'?"