Reacting to the decision of a court in Lesvos, Greece, to adjourn the case of 24 humanitarian workers, including search and rescue volunteers Sarah Mardini and Irishman Seán Binder, who risk 25 years in prison for helping and defending the rights of refugees, Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:
“These trumped-up charges are farcical and should never have resulted in Sarah and Seán appearing in court. Today’s adjournment means that having already waited over three years, this ordeal will continue to drag on for Sarah and Seán, leaving them in limbo. We call for the Greek authorities to uphold their human rights obligations, and drop the charges against Sarah and Seán.”
“Today’s decision is further proof of the absurdity of this case. All we have done is assist people seeking safety at a time of need. After today’s decision, our lives are once again left on hold,” said Seán Binder.
Sarah Mardini, a 25-year-old Syrian refugee, and Seán Binder, a 27-year-old German national who grew up in Ireland, face a series of unfair and baseless charges dating from the time they spent volunteering to spot and help people in boats in distress off the coast of Lesvos.
Greek authorities’ refusal to lift Sarah Mardini’s travel ban means that Sarah has not been able to attend her own trial.
“The injustice of these absurd charges is being further compounded by the Greek authorities’ flagrant violation of Sarah’s right to a fair trial, which includes the fundamental right to attend one’s own trial”, said Colm O’Gorman.
“Amnesty International is dismayed by the decision by the Greek authorities to criminalise Sarah and Sean. We stand alongside Seán and Sarah and will continue campaigning until justice is fully delivered, their human rights are respected and upheld and all charges against them dropped.”