Pylos, El Hiblu, Homayoun and thousands of innocents accused of being smugglers

6 June 2024 – On 14 June 2023, the Adriana, a boat leaving from Libya for Italy with hundreds of migrants on board, sank inside the Greek Search and Rescue (SAR) zone in the Mediterranean Sea. This would become the deadliest migrant shipwreck in recent history. Over 600 people died with a clear responsibility of the Hellenic Coast Guard and Frontex for a lack of clear procedures in cases of distress, as the investigation of the European Ombudsman stated.

After the shipwreck in Cutro, on 26 February 2023, 100 metres from the coast, where a Frontex airplane many hours before spotted the boat, checking with a thermal detector that it was full of people, without any visible lifesaver, no measures had been taken to change the role of Frontex in SAR activities.

After one year the truth is always under 4000 meters of sea. The Hellenic Coast Guard decided to avoid any investigation on the behavior of its official on board of its vessel PPLS 920, bought with EU funding. The Greek Ombudsman opened a file, but nothing happened till now despite the real responsibilities.

Nine persons that have been saved, were taken to jail, with the accusation that they were smugglers! They had spent almost one year in prison as on Tuesday 21 May 2024 the three members of the Court of Appeal of Kalamata considered the case against the “Pylos 9”. After a short hearing, and in accordance with the public prosecutor’s proposal, the court found that the Greek state did not have jurisdiction to prosecute “Pylos 9” for “participation in a criminal organization” and for “causing the shipwreck that caused the loss of human life,” since the events that led to the sinking of the Adriana occurred in international waters. The court also dropped the charges of “human trafficking” and “illegal entry into the national territory”, after recognizing that the passengers of the Adriana never entered Greek territory, nor did they ever intend to do so.

In spite of the acquittal on May 21 and contrary to the court’s decision, five of the Pylos 9 – who had requested asylum in Greece – remain behind bars to this day because the Greek police revengefully ordered their administrative detention. In the next days there will be an appeal to free them.

More than 2000 refugees are in jail in Greece, over 2500 in Italy. Some of them received public support, such as the three of El Hiblu, awaiting trial now for over 5 years in Malta, and Homayoun Sabetara, an Iranian 57 year old arrested as car driver in Greece in 2021 and condemned to 18 years of prison.

Innocents, victims of the criminalization of the migration, of the increasing racism of Fortress Europe, are the modern “infector”, accused of spreading the plague. EU authorities accuse poor migrants of crimes never committed. Martyrs to be exposed to the hatred of the people.

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