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RLS's Elèna Santioli writes about the Moria 6 for Melting Pot Europa

07/04/2023


RLS's Elèna Santioli wrote about the trial of the Moria 6 for Italian outlet Melting Pot Europa. The full article can be found here in Italian and a summary is provided below:


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Human Rights Watch, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and countless other agencies and non-governmental organizations have for years denounced the inhumane living conditions, which led to more than 246 fires (only those reported) inside the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos between 2013 and 2020.


The last fire, on the night between 8 and 9 September 2020, devastated the Moria refugee camp (NEW! video reconstruction from Forensic Architecture). Instead of admitting institutional responsibility, the Greek Minister of Immigration, Notis Mitarachi, publicly condemned six Afghan boys (the Moria 6), without any evidence and before any interrogation, arrest, or investigation took place.


Their trial, which has been defined as a "parody", lacked any sources of evidence and was characterised by extremely serious breaches of criminal procedure rules. Their conviction was based only on the written statement of one witness, who never appeared during the trial, and whose testimony was contradicted by official reports of the local Fire Service, and on a video, which was considered by the Athens forensic laboratory "of such poor quality that it is impossible to draw conclusions from it".


During the trial, the minor age of some of the defendants was denied, despite the presentation of official supporting documents, in clear violation of the national (Joint Ministerial Decision 9889/2020, Government Gazette 3390/Β/13-8-2020) and European legislation (Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Assembly resolution 44/25).


Today, despite the absence of evidence, the presence of important contradictions in the statements of the only (phantom) witness, and very serious procedural breaches, the six boys have all been convicted of arson of the Moria refugee camp. For two of them, for whom the minor age was recognised, the conviction was confirmed at the second instance. For the remaining four, the appeal hearing was scheduled for March 6, 2023 but was postponed by a year; in the meantime, they remain in prison.


The criminalization of migrants is the result of criminal policies and afflicts thousands of innocent individuals every day in Greece. We join the appeal of the defense lawyers of the Legal Center Lesvos in denouncing that justice delayed is justice denied.


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