Greece suspends espionage trial of 24 NGO aid workers

Cyprus officials concerned after 4 migrant boats arrive in 48 hours

The trial of more than 20 NGO aid workers who helped migrants reach Greece between 2016 and 2018 has been postponed.

The defendants face a raft of charges, including espionage, forgery, and radio frequencies’ unlawful use.

The case was postponed after the local judge ordered that the court was not qualified to hear the case.

It will now be heard by an appeals court because one of the defendants is a lawyer, and the local court on the island of Lesbos doesn’t have the jurisdiction to trial lawyers.

Greek migration minister Notis Mitarachi, while not commenting on the specific case, told The Irish Times the issue was not with NGOs in general but

“the tiny number of individuals who have broken the rules”.

“I don’t think Europe should be closed. We should offer support to people in need,” Mitarachi said. “But we should not let the smugglers, who get paid thousands of euro from people suffering, decide who comes to Europe.”

Greece has long accused Turkey of influencing migration flows as a tool to exert political pressure. This tactic by the Belarusian regime on the EU’s eastern border has now made migration a border security issue a priority for several member states. It was previously a more remote concern.


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