how.org| 11 November 2021|
Greece: Life-Saving on Trial
Two humanitarian activists who provided life-saving aid to migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Greece will face charges in a trial scheduled for November 18, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial at the Mytilene Misdemeanor Court on the Greek island of Lesbos is related to humanitarian activities that are protected under international human rights law and Greek law.
Human Rights Watch analyzed the case against the two, Sarah Mardini and Sean Binder, who also face a related felony investigation. They are among 24 defendants on trial for their alleged affiliations with Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), a nonprofit search-and-rescue group that operated on Lesbos and in Greek waters from 2016 to 2018.
The prosecution and investigation has been described in a European Parliament report as “currently the largest case of criminalization of solidarity in Europe.” Prosecutors should request their acquittal.
“The Greek authorities’ misuse of the criminal justice system to harass these humanitarian rescuers seems designed to deter future rescue efforts, which will only put lives at risk,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch.