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May 19, 2024
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Long-awaited trial of 24 aid workers accused of espionage starts in Lesbos

Trial of Sarah Mardini and fellow defendants lifts lid on ‘farcical’ treatment of humanitarians, say campaigners

Sarah Mardini, the refugee immortalised in the recent Netflix movie, The Swimmers, was the talk of Lesbos this week as the long-awaited trial of 24 aid workers accused of espionage, got underway on the island.

Eight years after the Syrian and her younger sister, Yusra, saved 18 fellow passengers from a sinking dinghy off the isle, it was Mardini’s name that stood out as appeals court judge, Styliani Spyridonidou, conducted a roll call of defendants at the start of a hearing that has fuelled widespread human rights concerns. But,although Mardini’s story hogged the Greek headlines, the 27-year-old student, accused of spying after returning to the island to assist refugees, was not present.

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