Lesbos court acquits 5 foreign NGO people accused of smuggling migrants into Greece

Lesbos court acquits 5 foreign NGO people accused of smuggling migrants into Greece
On Monday, a criminal court on the Greek island of Lesbos acquitted three aid workers from Spain, members of the NGO Proem-Aid, and two Danish volunteers of Arab descent, members of the NGO Team Humanity, who were accused of attempted people smuggling.

The Greek coast guard had detained the five men "on January 14, 2016 on the territorial water borders between Greece and Turkey as they were trying to help boats with migrants and refugees", ANA-MPA reads. Later on, the local authorities had accused Manuel Blanco, Julio Latorre, and Enrique Rodriguez, the three Spaniards, all of them firefighters from Seville, of "attempting to smuggle people" into the European Union, with the lead prosecutor proposing they are guilty; had they not been acquitted, they would face up to 10 years in prison.

"Supporters broke into clapping after the ruling and thanked Greek justice for 'the decision, which reflects the sense of justice of all of Europe'", ANA-MPA notes.

The trial attracted the interest of various European media and organisations such as Amnesty International. The defendants were supported not only by people who belong to their NGOs but also from local people of Lesbos who had met them while they were helping migrants and refugees from drowning. Among them a SYRIZA (the main government coalition party) Deputy from Lesbos, Giorgos Pallis, who testified in court as a defence witness.... / IBNA

Main Photo: The three firefighters from Spain of Proem-Aid outside the court in Lesbos

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