We stand in solidarity with the five rescuers who face a court case on Lesvos, Greece, tomorrow. They have been saving lives at sea and for this, they are facing charges of human trafficking with high prison sentences, instead of being honoured for the tremendous work they have done.
They appear before the court on Monday 7th of May, in Mytilene, Lesvos, and the proceedings will conclude on Wednesday. Accused are three fire-fighters from Spain, of the organisation Proem-Aid, also Salam Aldeen, and another person from Team Humanity. All of them arrived in Lesvos in late 2015 to do sea rescue, a time when arrivals were at there highest, and they were arrested on the 14th of January 2016 after returning from a search-mission at sea. Salam Aldeen, one of the accused, has been prevented from leaving Greece for many months and during this time has continued his support for those who suffer from the EU-borders on the shore. The boat of Team Humanity remained confiscated.
They were arrested while they did exactly what they had been doing for many weeks: rescuing people who were in danger of drowning. They often closely cooperated with the Greek coastguard. “If one is a criminal who saves human lives, children’s’ lives – then I am a criminal.” Salam told us.
Only recently we witnessed another shipwreck in front of Agathonisi. Again 16 people died at the outer borders of the European Union. Another day facing the deadliness of this border-regime. Another day we understand how crucial sea rescue still is. It is certain, deaths will only increase when criminalisation of rescue increases.
We stand in deep solidarity with the five of you. You will be in our thoughts when you face the charges in court. In the name of all the countless who oppose these deadly borders, we want to thank you for your courageous work.