Solidarity is powerful, that is why it is being criminalised

On the 17th of November 2021, Migrants Organise’s members, activists, organisers and concerned members of the public gathered outside the Greek Embassy in London to demand that the Greek authorities drop the charges against Sarah Mardini, Sean Binder, Nassos Karakitsos and others for providing life-saving assistance to asylum seekers arriving in Lesvos.

Sarah, Seán and Nassos were search and rescuers volunteering on the island of Lesvos. They joined a Greek rescue organisation which helped thousands of asylum seekers fleeing conflict. Despite fulfilling their legal duty to help those in distress at sea they were charged with crimes like espionage and facilitating illegal entry. They spent 108 days in pre-trial detention and still face 25 years behind bars. 

Whilst charges were first brought against them in 2018, the case has now progressed with all three now being put on trial for espionage and forgery, amongst other spurious charges. The consequences of this trial should not be understated and should be seen in the global and local context of increasing attacks on the rights of migrants, refugees and those offering solidarity. Here in the UK, the government is in the final stages of passing The Nationality and Borders Bill which will criminalise assisting asylum seekers and increase the maximum sentence from 14 years’ to life imprisonment (amongst a whole range of other measures proposed to criminalise migrants). 

Like the recently acquitted Stansted 15 activists (who intervened to stop a deportation flight and were subsequently charged with terrorism), Sarah, Seán and Nassos faces are being put on a ‘show trial’ to instil fear in ordinary people who take everyday actions to show solidarity with those being oppressed by state violence. The consequences have been devastating, with search and rescue missions ceasing to operate as previously and people losing their lives at sea.  It is imperative that we strongly oppose each and every attack. 

This is why on a cold evening in November, we took to the streets, demanding that the Greek authorities #DropTheCharges. We were not alone. People turned out in Berlin, Barcelona, Chicago and elsewhere to let it be known that we will not stop showing up in solidarity with migrants forced to make these perilous journeys and with the humanitarians, activists and ordinary people who act to save lives and care for our communities. 

Solidarity action with Free Humanitarians, outside Greek Embassy in London

Solidarity is what connects us beyond borders – it is beautiful and powerful. We will continue to take action to make it known that the attempt to criminalise actions of solidarity will not stop or silence us!


Migrants Organise is a platform where migrants, refugees connect, build common ground, organise for dignity and justice for all. 

Find out more about how to support Free Humanitarians here

Join us to build the movement for migrant justice.