Greece Drops Charges Against International Aid Workers Accused of Trafficking Assistance

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Court documents revealed on Tuesday that Greece had withdrawn criminal charges against numerous international aid workers, including allegations of espionage and aiding illegal entry into the country via Lesvos island.

The majority of the 35 individuals accused in 2020 of organizing a criminal network and assisting traffickers in transporting migrants were German citizens. Other defendants hailed from Norway, Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Bulgaria. Upon their arrest, they all denied any wrongdoing.

According to documents obtained by Reuters, the case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Zaharias Kesses, a lawyer representing some of the aid workers, stated, "The detailed investigation of the case file has resoundingly quashed the police narrative, which was pure fiction."

Greece, a primary entry point for a significant influx of refugees and migrants to Europe in 2015 and 2016, particularly through its islands near Turkey, like Lesvos, has experienced a decrease in migration flows since then.

The case stemmed from a 2020 operation named Alkmini, conducted by the Greek intelligence service EYP and the anti-terrorism unit. Undercover agents posing as migrants travelled from Turkey to Lesbos as part of the operation.

Initially, Greek intelligence suspected the aid workers of sharing information about Greek Coast Guard activities and vessel equipment while using an emergency phone for migrants and asylum seekers at sea. However, a magistrate's investigation determined that the information and visual materials collected were not confidential.

"The documents stated that there is insufficient evidence to support the accusations against the defendants."

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