Why Sarah Mardini, the star of Netflix’s ‘The Bathers’, risks 20 years in prison in Greece

Why Sarah Mardini, the star of Netflix’s ‘The Bathers’, risks 20 years in prison in Greece

Jamal Lens/Getty Images via AFP TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEPTEMBER 9: Sarah Mardini speaks on stage at the “Bathers” press conference during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 09, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. Jamal Contessa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Jamal Contessa/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP)

Jamal Lens/Getty Images via AFP

Sarah Mardini, the real-life heroine of Netflix’s ‘Babes’, faces 20 years in prison in Greece

SCREENS – Chaos and anger reigned on Tuesday, January 10 at Trial Day Greek island of Lesbos 24 aid workers are accused of “espionage”, including Syrian refugee Sarah Mardini. The defendants bear Up to 25 years in prison Amnesty International said all charges against him.

The young woman, who was not present during this hearing day, was arrested in August 2018 while working as a volunteer for the NGO ERCI on this Greek island that has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly Syrians. 2016.

Like the echo of the story of Sarah Mardini and her sister, Olympic swimmer Yusra

She aroused so much interest that she appeared in the movie “bathers” published on the platform Netflix. The feature film tells the story of the past ten years of Yusra and her sister Sarah, leaving their parents and little sister in Syria to seek refuge in Germany. There, Yusra resumed swimming training until qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016, and then five years later for those in Tokyo as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.

Sarah Mardini, played by French-Lebanese Manal Issa, spent three months in prison in Greece before she was able to return to Berlin, where she had been a refugee since 2015. She was unable to go to the opening of the prison. Trial due to entry ban to Greece.

In an interview with the German daily newspaper tagespiegel At the end of 2021, the young woman had confided in her deep malaise due to her legal problems.

“I want my life back (from before). For the past three years, I haven’t had a life (…) I exist through my body. But with anything else right now.”The Syrian woman, who dropped out of the University of Berlin, said she suffers from mental disorders.

Chaotic audience

The trial, which was presented in a report to the European Parliament as “the largest case criminalizing solidarity in Europe”, was postponed to Friday after an interruption for the first time in the morning due to the absence of one of the defendants and his lawyer.

The presiding judge on Tuesday clarified that the charges only“espionage” These aid workers will be considered during the prosecution of the crimes of money laundering, migrant smuggling and fraud at a later date upon completion of the investigation.

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This chaotic hearing aroused great resentment among the defendants and human rights NGOs as the proceedings by Greek courts began more than four years ago.

On Tuesday, the defendants’ lawyers demanded that the court drop the charges in this first part due to procedural defects such as the lack of translation of court documents or the failure to send documents to some of the defendants to appear before the court.

“(Defense) lawyers have presented convincing arguments as to why the manner in which this trial is being conducted is not acceptable.”One of the main defendants was reassured by the German of Irish descent, Sean Bender, who demanded an application “Right-wing state”.

“All charges brought against us, whether for espionage or money laundering, are invalid. This trial has a political objective.Another defendant, Dutchman Peter Wittenberg, added.

According to Human Rights Watch (HWR), the trial began on the basis of police reports containing factual errors “Including allegations that some of the defendants took part in rescue operations on dates when they were not even in Greece.”.

Faced with the spread of legal action against them, NGOs that rescue migrants at sea have virtually halted operations in Greece, a country accused of carrying out illegal pushbacks at its sea and land borders towards Turkey.

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