Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an article urging Greek authorities to drop the charges against activists who were trying to rescue migrants and asylum seekers at sea. The two activities, Sarah Mardini and Sean Binder, and two Greek nationals have been in detention for more than two months already. Their arrest resulted from an investigation by the police and accusations that they have used rescue operations as a cover for people smuggling.
HRW has examined available documentation, court records, police reports and spoke to the activists` lawyers, other humanitarian volunteers and former classmates who know them. Having reviewed all documents HRW concluded accusations are baseless and is calling Greek authorities to free the activists. According to the article, the HRW senior researcher characterized this as “an effort to criminalize humanitarian activism on behalf of refugees and migrants in Greece”. The two activists were volunteers of a nonprofit organization Emergency Response Center International, which also provided medical care and non-formal education programs for refugee and migrant children. The organization has since ceased its operations.