Once again, our rescue coordinator, Iasonas Apostolopoulos is being targeted and threatened by the Greek government, racist groups and the media affiliated to them.
Iasonas has been involved in SAR activities since 2015 and has rescued thousands of lives in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranea sea.
This time the government’s spokesperson, Giannis Economou, described him as “traitor of Greece” for a speech that he gave at the European Parliament.
The reason? Iasonas is speaking out against the brutal European migration policy and the barbaric pushbacks in the Aegean Sea committed by the Greek government.
This new attack against him caused a massive wave of hate speech and intimidation by the far right, including dozens of death threats. Pro government anonymous Twitter accounts called publicly for his assassination by the secret service.
All this is happening amid the highest level of military tensions in the Aegean Sea, between Greece and Turkey. Erdogan and Mitsotakis are threatening each other with war every day.”
A few months earlier, the same far right accounts released the address of his family’s house together with pictures from the front door. In this case, Mediterranea sent a letter to the Greek embassy in Rome asking them to intervene with the Greek government to ensure the protection and safety of himself and his family.
Some of Iasonas words were:
“In Greece we have the only coastguard in the world which instead of rescuing people from the sea, they throw people into the sea. Greek authorities kidnapp migrants who have already reached Greek shores and drop them back into open sea.”
What Iasonas Apostolopoulos said at the European Parliament is not something new. This barbaric practice by the Greek government has been documented by a plethora of international media and organizations such as Der Spiegel, The Guardian and Amnesty International.
Only UNHCR has recorded 540 cases of pushbacks by Greece since the beginning of 2020, along the Greek-Turkish borders.
It was exactly these investigations that led to the resignation of the leader of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri 1,5 months ago. There is overwhelming evidence that Frontex has been covering up crimes against refugees at sea committed by the greek coastguard.
We stand on the side of our comrade and we declare that Solidarity and Sea Rescue are not crimes.
Denouncing Human Rights violations are not crimes.
The only crime is the border regime of Fortress Europe which condemns thousands of people to death every year.
As long as these criminal policies are in place, we will always continue to fight against them.
Solidarity will prevail!