Cork activist arrested in Greece returns home to Ireland

SEÁN BINDER – THE Cork activist arrested in Greece earlier this year – has returned home to Ireland after he was released on bail. 

Binder was met by his mother Fanny at Dublin Airport yesterday. She said she was “delighted” to have her son back.

The 24-year-old activist – who grew up in Togher Co Cork – was arrested in August by Greek authorities after he was accused of helping illegal migrants enter the country.

He had been working as a volunteer with Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) in Greece when he was detained along with four other volunteers. 

The arrested members of ERCI were detained on the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of migrants are housed in squalid conditions in cramped camps. 

They spent three months in a Greek prison, before being released earlier this month on bail as the case is being prepared. 

Commenting on Facebook upon his release, Binder thanked all those who had helped him for their “tireless support”.

“Thanks to you, after 107 days, I am no longer in pre-trial detention and I can prepare for the case to go to court with the support of my fantastic legal team, wonderful family and friends around me,” he said.

“Hopefully our release signals that providing humanitarian support is not criminal and we certainly will continue to advocate for this.

At the same time it is important not to frame humanitarianism as heroic. By elevating humanitarianism to heroism not helping is in danger of becoming normalised. But you’ve proven that help is the rule not the exception.

Binder’s campaign has received support from a variety of NGOs and political representatives.

Amnesty International welcomed his release but said that the charges against him and the other workers must be dropped.

In October, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan called for Binder and others to be released, saying that they were “NGO workers who clearly pose no threat to society”.

With reporting from Adam Daly 

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