Sara Mardini, a Bard College Berlin student and Syrian refugee awarded for her heroism, has been arrested in Lesbos while helping to bring refugees to safety. Bard College is working to expedite her release from detention. Photo: Tagesspiegel / Dena S. Abusrur
Arrest of Syrian “Hero Swimmer” Shines Spotlight on Lesbos Refugees
Helena Smith, The Guardian, September 6, 2018
Greece’s high-security Korydallos prison acknowledges that Sara Mardini is one of its rarer inmates. For a week, the Syrian refugee, a hero among human rights defenders, has been detained in its women’s wing on charges so serious they have elicited baffled dismay.
The 23-year-old, who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dingy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister, is accused of people smuggling, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation – crimes allegedly committed since returning to work with an NGO on the island. Under Greek law, Mardini can be held in custody pending trial for up to 18 months.