N. Alivizatos: Prosecution of NGO members for helping immigrants is unthinkable

A message of support for human rights defenders, who are facing an unprecedented campaign of targeting and criminalization, was sent by Professor Nikos Alivizatos from the podium of the Solidarity Now organization’s tenth anniversary event yesterday at the Concert Hall.

“It has been heard a lot lately that NGOs are agents of Turkey and help immigrants pass through our country. And people were even prosecuted by the criminal organization for this matter. I find it unthinkable,” said Mr Alivizatos.

The professor’s comment, of course, concerns the unprecedented prosecutions faced by 24 members of the ERCI organization in Lesbos, including the internationally renowned swimmer Sarah Mardini, because they were rescuing shipwrecked refugees, as well as the prosecution of the Prosecutor’s Office of Kos against Panagiotis Dimitras (Hellenic Observatory of the Helsinki Accords) and Tommy Olsen (Aegean Boat Report) for collecting data on refugees who claim to have been illegally returned to Turkey.

Mr Dimitras gave the information to the Greek authorities when the refugees were found again in Greece in order to identify them and submit them to the asylum procedure.

The comment of Mr Alivizatos has the obvious recipients of the government and the judiciary and adds to the reactions that have been caused in Greece and internationally by the persecution of human rights defenders in our country.

The question is whether the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Sofia Vultepsi, who was present at the event, heard it. However, she avoided any reference in her speech, which followed.

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