On the night of 7 November 2020, N. and Hasan tried to reach Greece from Turkey on a rubber boat together with 22 other people. Among the passengers were the 6-year-old son of N. and the sister, brother and disabled mother of Hasan. The families had fled Afghanistan and were seeking safety and a better life in Europe.
Off the Greek island of Samos, the boat got into distress, hit against the cliffs and capsized. All passengers went overboard. Although the Greek Coast Guard was notified about the emergency, it took them several hours to arrive at the scene. Survivors testified that they twice saw a coast guard boat approach but it did not rescue them
. In the morning hours of the next day, N.'s little boy and a 9-month pregnant woman were found on the rocks. Luckily, the woman survived. For N.'s son, all help had come too late.
Devastated about the death of his only child and he himself nearly drowning just before, 25-year-old N. was arrested. He was put in pre-trial detention and, as the first asylum seeker ever, charged with "endangering the life of his child", facing up to ten years imprisonment.
23-year-old Hasan was also arrested. Because he steered the boat at some point during the journey, he is charged with the “transportation of 24 third-country nationals into Greek territory without permission” (smuggling), with the aggravating circumstances of “endangering the lives of 23“ and “causing the death of one” - N.'s son. He is facing 10 years per transported person plus a life sentence for the death of one person, amounting to 230 years plus life imprisonment. These “smuggling” charges brought against Hasan have been systematically used by the Greek state to criminalize migration for several years.
This shipwreck was not the fault of the two young men. They are the direct result of the EU's ever-increasing closure of borders, forcing people to risk their lives and those of their families. N. and Hasan are being used as scapegoats to divert attention from EU’s responsibilities. They are not guilty but victims of an ever-increasing policy of deterrence and criminalization that hampers their right to freedom of movement.
To support N. and Hasan, the campaign Free the #Samos2
is raising funds to help them with their trials. This includes covering both their legal fees, as well as travel and accommodation costs. As part of the criminalization of refugees in Greece, the defendant in most cases is found guilty in the first instance, which is why we will most likely have to expect a subsequent appeal. In total, the costs will amount to at least 7500 euros.
Be part of the campaign
and support N. and Hasan in their court cases to counteract Europe's inhumane and racist policies of deportation.