Frontex has denied responsibility for and involvement in the Italian push-back practice.
Full text of the Frontex press release:
“By way of response to statements included in the Human Rights Watch report “Pushed Back, Pushed Around” Frontex would like to state categorically that the agency has not been involved in diversion activities to Libya (these are based on a bilateral agreement which Italy signed with Libya in May this year).
“The Frontex operation referred to in the report, Operation Nautilus 2009, was underway on June 18th 2009, but in a different operational area. Though German helicopters did participate in this operation, they were at no time involved in the incident described in the report (on the basis of two press reports, one from ANSA and one from Malta Today).
“In general, Frontex would like to point out that the task of helicopters involved in joint operations coordinated by the agency is only to patrol the operational area, not to divert. “
Click here for press release.