Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Protesters, laywyers and aid workers pose for the media outside a court in Mytilene, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece

Greek court rejects charges against aid workers

A court on the Greek island of Lesbos has rejected charges against a group of aid workers and volunteers who participated in migrant rescue operations, ruling on procedural grounds to return the case to the prosecution for refiling.
The case in which 24 people, 17 foreigners and seven Greeks, were charged over their work with migrants newly arriving on Lesbos, has drawn widespread criticism from human rights organisations. The defendants argue they were doing nothing more than assisting people whose lives were at risk.

“Trials like this are deeply concerning because they criminalise life-saving work and set a dangerous precedent,” the UN Human Rights Office said before the court decision on Friday. “Indeed, there has already been a chilling effect, with human rights defenders and humanitarian organisations forced to halt their human rights work in Greece and other EU countries.”

Those on trial included prominent Syrian human rights worker Sarah Mardini, a refugee and competitive swimmer whose sister Yusra Mardini was part of the refugee swim team at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2021. The sisters’ story was made into a Netflix movie.

Sarah Mardini, who was not present at Friday’s hearing, and fellow volunteer Sean Binder, who was in Lesbos to attend the trial, spent more than three months in jail on the island after their 2018 arrest on misdemeanour charges that included espionage, forgery and unlawful use of radio frequencies.

The court on Friday accepted objections by defence lawyers that the prosecution had failed to adhere to proper procedure in filing the charges. The defence successfully argued that prosecution documents were not translated for the foreign defendants and the espionage charges were vague.

The court dismissed the charges over radio frequencies because the law they were filed under has since been abolished.

‘Many legal mistakes’
In essence, the decision means the misdemeanour case has collapsed because the five-year statute of limitations on the espionage and forgery charges expires in early February and the prosecution is unlikely to have enough time to refile the case.

However, one Greek defendant still faces a misdemeanour count of forgery, and Sarah Mardini and Binder are still under investigation over felony charges.

“It is a step. It is the first recognition that there were many legal mistakes that violated the essence of a fair trial,” defence lawyer Cleo Papapantoleon said. “The decision is important for us, and we expect the same to happen with the investigation into the felonies, for which there is also no evidence.”

The case was initially set to proceed in 2021 but was postponed over procedural issues.

“Today’s decision offers the authorities a new opportunity to put an end to this ordeal and correct their own wrongdoing by dropping all of the charges, including the more serious felony charges which still await them,” said Nils Muiznieks, director of Amnesty International’s European Regional Office.

Greece, which saw about a million people arrive on its shores from neighbouring Turkey at the height of a refugee crisis in 2015, has clamped down on migration, erecting a fence along much of its land border with Turkey and increasing sea patrols near its islands.

Greek officials say they have a strict but fair migration policy. They also deny, despite increasing evidence to the contrary, conducting illegal summary deportations of people arriving on Greek territory without allowing them to apply for asylum, a procedure known as “pushbacks”.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Budapest Post
Close
0:00
0:00
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Shell reports highest profits in 115 years
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Hungary ready to sue EU over cuts to Erasmus funding
EU against democracy: Hungary's mail-in poll on Russia sanctions dismissed by Brussels
2023 - The Year of the Rabbit
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
Clashes erupt in central Paris after shooting at a Kurdish cultural center
×