“Today is a first step in the right direction… towards justice! »exclaims Grace O’Sullivan, Irish MEP (Greens), leaving the Court of Appeal of the Greek island of Lesbos, where twenty-four humanitarian workers had been prosecuted for more than four years for ” spying “, “migrant smuggling” and “money laundering”. The court judge canceled, Friday, January 13, the procedure for ” spying “, against in particular Sean Binder, a German-Irish national, and Sara Mardini, a Syrian refugee who inspired with her sister, an Olympic swimmer, the film Swimmers, by Sally El Hosaini. This decision stems from significant procedural flaws: lack of translation of the indictment for foreign volunteers from the non-governmental organization ERCI, omission of a page in the documents provided to the defendants’ lawyers…
Sara Mardini and Sean Binder were not even present in Lesvos at the time of the events
Amnesty International has called the trial, postponed several times, a ” prank call “. According to Human Rights Watch, the charges against the NGO volunteers were “unfounded”. Sara Mardini and Sean Binder, accused in police reports of having repeatedly facilitated the passage of migrants to Greece, were not even present in Lesbos at the time of the events. Similarly, they are accused of having used marine radios or of exchanging on WhatsApp with other NGOs about the potential arrival of migrant canoes on the island. However, underlines Sean Binder, “the Greek Coast Guard were aware, we were working hand in hand to avoid shipwrecks “.
“The case put up against us by the police is mind-boggling, full of errors, like this legal procedure”continues the 29-year-old, who says he has lived all these years with “a sword of Damocles above his head”. Wanting to become a lawyer, he could not pass the bar in London, where he studies, because of this procedure. Sara Mardini, now based in Berlin, was diagnosed with symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress after her arrest in August 2018 and three months in Greek jails. Nassos Karakitsos, also in the dock, is subject to a ban on leaving Greek territory: “I had to give up job offers with NGOs in Ukraine or on the rescue ships between Libya and Italy… And unfortunately our hell is not over yet. »
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