In einem beispiellosen Schritt haben die griechischen Behörden einen Geflüchteten wegen des Ertrinkens seines 6-jährigen Sohnes bei einem Schiffsunglück angeklagt. Zusammen mit einem Mitfahrer, dem für das Steuern des Boots lebenslange Haft droht, wird er am 18. Mai 2022 in Samos vor Gericht stehen. Mehr als 70 Organisationen aus ganz Europa fordern, dass die Anklage gegen die #Samos2 fallen gelassen wird. Die Vereinigung von Anwält:innen European Democratic Lawyers wird den Prozess beobachten. Twitter: #Samos2.

Samos, 16 May 2022 N., a 25-year-old Afghan man, is the first asylum seeker ever to be charged in Europe for the death of his child, when all he wanted was to provide safety for his child. He faces up to ten years in prison for “endangering the life of his child” by getting on a refugee boat to Europe with him.

This move sets a worrying precedent in criminalizing migrants as it could apply to all families that arrive to Greece“, comments Dimitris Choulis, lawyer of the #Samos2.

N. steht zusammen mit dem 23-jährigen Afghanen Hasan vor Gericht, der zusammen mit ihm am 8. November 2020 verhaftet wurde. Als sie über die Ägäis aus der Türkei flohen, verließ der Schmuggler nach Kurzem  das Boot, woraufhin Hasan das Steuer übernehmen musste. Nun wird er des Schmuggels beschuldigt für den „unerlaubten Transport von 24 Drittstaatenangehörigen in griechisches Hoheitsgebiet“ angeklagt, mit den erschwerenden Umständen der „Gefährdung des Lebens von 23“ und der „Verursachung des Todes von einem“ – N.‘s Sohn. Ihm droht eine lebenslange Haftstrafe für den Tod des Kindes und weitere 10 Jahre Haft für jede transportierte Person, insgesamt also 230 Jahre plus lebenslänglich.

More than 70 human rights organisations and networks across Europe have launched the campaign “The real crime is the border regime - Free the #Samos2“, calling for the charges against N. and Hasan to be dropped. They denounce this large-scale criminalisation of migrants who, in the absence of legal flight routes, have no choice but to risk their lives on increasingly perilous journeys.

Legal loopholes are used to prosecute those who find it difficult to defend themselves against systematic discrimination. At the same time, the crimes of European coast guards, Frontex and other border militaries are not prosecuted. Systematic discrimination extends into the trials. Again and again, defendants are denied a fair trial; testimonies of other migrants are ignored or not heard at all, as for example in the #ElHiblu3 or the #Paros3 trial“, says Jelka Kretzschmar from Mare Liberum, who has been working against the criminalization of people on the move for years.

Hasan was charged despite other passengers, including N., stating that Hasan simply took the wheel because someone had to.

“No matter how many times you repeat it, it was not the driver’s fault. He is just a migrant and his family was also there, he didn’t do anything wrong, he is not to be blamed. I just ask for this, I want this person to be released”, says N.”, says N. 

“They [the smugglers] will force the migrants to bring the boat to its destination themselves, whether they know how to drive a boat or not”, states Hasan.

While N.’s case constitutes the first of its kind, the “smuggling” charges brought against Hasan are not an isolated incident. As documented by CPT Aegean Migrant Solidarity, borderline-europe and Deportation Monitoring Aegean, police routinely arrest one or two persons per arriving boat. According to official numbers by the Greek ministry of justice, asylum seekers convicted of human smuggling accounted for the second largest category of inmates in Greece.

Arrested immediately upon arrival, most of them have no access to proper legal assistance, let alone external support. Since Greek law has particularly draconian penalties for smuggling, this results in people who came to Europe in search of safety being punished more severely than murderers and ending up in prison for decades.

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