Seán, Sarah and Nassos have now been in custody for over two weeks. They have been arrested because of their work with refugees on Lesvos.
For Seán, this mainly includes search and rescue of and shoreline response to migrant boats arriving from Turkey – essentially ensuring that people do not die or come to serious harm on this crossing.
Sarah also played a large role in Search and Rescue on Lesvos, but she is also a very important spokesperson for this issue and has raised a lot of money through public speaking, including, for example at TedX and Harvard University.
Sarah is a refugee herself, and gained a lot of public attention when, during her own crossing from Turkey in 2015, the boat broke down and she, along with three other people, jumped into the water and helped bring it to shore, saving the lives of 20 people.
She sustained an injury that ended her professional swimming career, but she was still able to qualify as a lifeguard and came back to Lesvos in 2016 to help other refugees doing this crossing.
Seán has also been here since summer 2017, having chosen to volunteer in this field after finishing his Masters degree.
Charges against Mardini, Greek national Nassos Karakitsos (no personal info was included about Nassos) and Irish volunteer Sean Binder include money laundering, violating state secrets, establishing and joining a criminal organization, counterfeiting, espionage and offenses against the immigration code and electronic communication legislation, Reuters reported.
Despite there being very little evidence against Seán and Sarah, they are currently going to be kept in jail until their trials, which could take up to 18 months.
These two people, besides being absolutely lovely personally, have really given themselves to saving lives and to leading a team of volunteers doing this important work, and now find themselves arrested and prosecuted, essentially for trying to help people.
Refugees Abused and Neglected
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (HNHCR) said on Friday that the conditions on the islands in the Aegean Sea, including Lesbos—which received nearly 1 million refugees in 2015—are quickly deteriorating.
“The situation is reaching a boiling point at the Moria reception identification center on Lesbos, where more than 7,000 asylum seekers and migrants are crammed into shelters built to accommodate just 2,000 people,” said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesperson from the UNHCR, according to the CBC.
“We are particularly concerned about woefully inadequate sanitary facilities, fighting amongst frustrated communities, rising levels of sexual harassment and assaults and the increasing need for medical and psychosocial care,” he continued.
Children as young as 10 years old have reportedly attempted suicide on the island, where bad conditions have made charities leave in protest.