Prayers for Peacemakers 24 November 2021 Aegean Migrant Solidarity

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Pray for an end to the criminalisation of solidarity.

Last week two critical trials were scheduled to take place in Mytilene court, Lesvos. Both were an attempt to punish solidarity. The first concerned 24 people who were arrested in February 2018 on charges related to human smuggling and espionage, simply for being members of search-and-rescue networks on the coastline of the Aegean Sea. Despite working in full knowledge of the authorities, their criminalisation was part of a chain of arrests aimed at deterring independent sea rescue and monitoring initiatives. In the end, their trial was postponed because of procedural issues, leaving the 24 defendants again in limbo. The accused themselves demand a timely trial in order to prove their innocence.

The other trial concerned defendants accused of occupying public space and disobedience for a 2017 protest in the city's main square against the conditions in Moria refugee camp. After four years and following many postponements, all but one of the defendants were finally cleared of all charges. One of them, Shafiqa, noted that after four years of pending court cases, she finally feels free.