Greece: Migrant Rescue Trial to Begin

Syrian immigrants

Two dozen defendants face trial in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, on misdemeanour charges related to Emergency Response Center International (ERCI).

The 24 defendants deny all the charges, saying they did nothing more than help rescue people whose lives were in danger. The trial in the town of Mytilene on Lesbos began Tuesday and was adjourned until Friday.

Mardini’s lawyer Zacharias Kesses in 2018, called the allegations “arbitrary,” adding in a video message that the claims have “nothing to do with real evidence.”

The case is “currently the largest case of criminalization of solidarity in Europe,” according to the European Parliament report.

“All we are asking for, all our lawyers have demanded, is that the rule of law is respected. That Greek laws are respected,” Binder told journalists Tuesday after the court hearing wrapped for the day.

“We want the rule of law, and we will find out Friday if we will get the rule of law or the rule of flaws”, Binder continued, saying the prosecution had made “flaw after flaw” in their case.

In a December 22 statement, Human Rights Watch called on the Greek prosecutor to drop the charges, saying the case “effectively criminalizes life-saving humanitarian solidarity for people on the move.”

Greece, which saw around a million migrants and refugees cross its shores from nearby Turkey at the height of the 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.