Greece: Police file migrant smuggling cases against 35 people, including 33 NGO workers

The Greek police have handed files to the prosecution authorities alleging the involvement of 35 foreign nationals in migrant smuggling. The files list offences such as "forming and joining a criminal organisation, espionage, violation of state secrets, as well as violations of the Immigration Code".


It remains to be seen whether the charges are pursued by the prosecution authorities. NGOs working on the Greek islands have long-complained of harassment and intimidation by the authorities, including the police, as recounted by Legal Centre Lesvos earlier this year.

According to Kathimerini (link):

"In a statement released following several months of investigation with the aid of Greece’s intelligence agency and counter-terrorism unit, ELAS [the Greek police] said the alleged racket had been helping smuggle migrants to the island of Lesvos since at least early June.

It is alleged to have actively supported smuggling rings to sneak in migrants using closed social media groups, apps and confidential information including gathering points of migrants on the Turkish coast and the geographical coordinates of refugee flows towards Greece.

The alleged use of the apps also interfered with rescue operations by the Hellenic Coast Guard, according to ELAS.

It has been linked to at least 32 cases of migrant smuggling or attempted smuggling, the statement said, adding that the investigation is continuing to determine the breadth of the alleged racket's activities."

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