Tag Archives: aid workers

Trinity College Dublin graduate Sean Binder; Hundreds of thousands of lifejackets in a makeshift dump outside Eftalou, northern Lesbos in December 2015

Further to the arrest and detention of Sean Binder, 24, from Togher in Cork – who was working as a volunteer with asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos in Greece – last August…

The Guardian reports:

“After 107 days of incarceration, Sarah Mardini – the Syrian human rights worker who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dinghy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister – has been freed from Greece’s toughest jail.

The 23-year-old was released late on Wednesday from the high-security Koryallos prison in Athens, where she was being held in pre-trial detention on charges of people-smuggling.

She was allowed to walk free after her lawyers posted €5,000 (£4,450) in bail.

Sean Binder, a 24-year-old volunteer born in Germany and resident in Ireland, was also freed from custody in Chios [a separate island] along with two others from the NGO for which both had worked.

Mardini and Binder had faced prison sentences of up to 25 years after being accused of facilitating people-smuggling through membership of a criminal organisation. Charges of espionage and money laundering were also levelled at the activists.

Both had been volunteering in search and rescue operations with the now-defunct Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI), an NGO based on Lesbos.

…But [Zaccharias Kesses, the lawyer heading the aid workers’ legal team in Athens] said a trial was still likely to take place. “The charges may be amended but I think it very unlikely that the trial will be dropped. There is vast pressure in local society against NGOs, who are perceived to be pull factors for refugees at a time when few want them.”

Syrian aid worker who swam refugees to safety freed from Greek jail (The Guardian)

Related: Sean Binder’s Arrest Represents the Criminalisation of Compassion (University Times)

Pic: University Times