On the morning of March 4, Pakistani Muhammad Gulzar collapses on the Greek-Turkish external border. He is 42 years old, blue eyes and black hair. His wife Saba Khan stands next to him, less than two months before they got married. Gulzar presses his hand on his chest, a 5.56-millimeter bullet hit him. Seventy-five minutes later, he was pronounced dead at a Turkish hospital.
In the new episode of the SPIEGEL foreign podcast “Eight Billion”, host Juan Moreno talks this week with SPIEGEL editors Maximilian Popp and Steffen Lüdke, who have researched this moment with Giorgos Christides. It is not just a private tragedy. The scene is also of great importance for Europe and its migration policy. Did a Greek border guard shoot the migrant?
At this moment, two great stories meet:
The death of Muhammad Gulzar is part of a Political Thrillers, which plays on the Greek border fence. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has skarted thousands of migrants to the border to blackmail Europe. Turkey accuses Greek border guards of killing Gulzar. The Greek Government rejects this. It is about lies, suspects and evidence, which only emerges a clear picture in the overall view; At the heart of the matter is who shot Gulzar on March 4 and wounded six other migrants.
But Gulzar’s death is also the tragic end of a love story. Khan and Gulzar, bride and groom, stood on Europe’s external border that day, dreaming of living together in Greece. Gulzar had lived in Greece since 2007 and wanted to bring his love of youth from Pakistan to Europe. The first trip after their wedding ended in disaster.
For weeks, SPIEGEL reporters and the research teams of Forensic Architecture, Bellingcat and Lighthouse Reports analyzed videos from that day. They have spoken to injured migrants, Greek border guards and Saba Khan. They were able to see Gulzar’s autopsy report and filter out sharp shots on a video. “It was very clear to us that reports of migrants from that day would not be enough,” Popp says.
At the end of the research, they came to a conclusion: it was most likely Greek border guards who shot at migrants that day and killed Muhammad Gulzar. “An elite soldier told us in detail that they first used cartridges and then fired on the ground with live ammunition to stop the migrants,” Says Lüdke.