Displaying items by tag: Lesbos
Syrian refugee and aid worker Yusra Mardini went on trial on 18 November with over two dozen other aid workers from various countries, for helping migrants reach Greece between 2016 and 2018. The defendants face charges including forgery, espionage, and the unlawful use of radio frequencies. Human rights groups have condemned the trial as being politically motivated; Amnesty International called the charges ‘farcical’ and said they should never have come to trial. If found guilty, the aid workers could face five-year prison sentences. Some remain under investigation for a number of other felonies, including human smuggling, which could lead to further sentences of up to 25 years. Irishman Sean Binder said, ‘I am happy to defend myself; I know I did nothing wrong, and we can prove that. I am charged with crimes that I am supposed to have committed a year before I was ever on Lesbos.’ STOP PRESS: the trial has been suspended, but will now be heard by an appeal court.
13,000 people are crammed into a facility designed for 3,000. The UN has called for migrants to be transferred immediately from the squalid Moria camp on Lesbos to the mainland after a fire killed a mother and child. Lesbos lies in sight of Turkey’s coastline. As quickly as people are transferred to Greece’s mainland, more asylum-seekers arrive from Turkey. On 29 September a blaze consumed shipping containers where families are housed. A woman and child died in the fire, and 17 people were hurt. Clashes erupted between migrants and police, who fired tear gas to control the chaos. Humanitarian organisations condemn the conditions at the camp, where many are sleeping in tents in olive groves. Pray for the police and authorities to respect and care for migrants who have covered dangerous terrain to get as far as Greece, and then been made to live in conditions described as ‘critical’.
Up to 9,000 asylum-seekers strive to survive both inside and outside Camp Moria in tents exposed to cold and rain. 23-year-old Maryam Parsa from Afghanistan said that Moria is not what she expected. There were not enough doctors for the children, not enough medicine, or blankets, or food. ‘Our sons all become sick. This is not a good situation for us. If they don’t let us go to Europe, then make this situation good.’ Muhammad Raza, at 18, has won medals in karate and wishes to become a professional after relocating to France, but is disappointed with living conditions in camp Moria. Activists and NGOs call Moria the ‘shame of Europe’ and ask authorities to move children and other vulnerable refugees away from there. The government said that it has moved around 4,000 since June, but more refugees keep landing in Lesbos.