Sean is facing trial in Greece in the coming weeks over his search and rescue work. The charges have been called “trumped-up” by Amnesty International.
On Wednesday (7 December) MEP for Ireland Grace O’Sullivan took part in the international #Swim4Freedom campaign in support of Sean Binder and other humanitarians who are facing up to 25 years in prison for their lifesaving work on the island of Lesbos over four years ago. People are being asked to raise money for Sean and his co-accused’s legal fund by taking a sponsored winter swim this month.
Sean, who grew up in Castlegregory and attended Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí in Tralee, was arrested in Lesbos in 2018 while volunteering for the NGO, Emergency Response Center International. He spent more than 100 days locked up in a Greek prison before being released on bail in December 2018 following a campaign by his family, friends and human rights organisations. He will travel to Greece for his trial on the 10th January. His co-accused, Sarah Mardini, was the subject of a new Netflix film The Swimmers, which followed her own journey from Syria to Greece in treacherous conditions.
Speaking after a particularly chilly swim in Ballyalla Lake in County Clare on Wednesday, MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan said “It’s a tough swim in December alright, but nothing compared to the ordeal that thousands of migrants and refugees have to go through on the EU’s borders. We need to defend the humanitarians like Sean and Sarah who risk their lives for others. I encourage everyone to take part in the #Swim4Freedom campaign this month and raise the funds for Sean’s defence, which costs over €3,000 a day.”
Readers can find out more about the fundraising campaign via FreeHumanitarians on all major social media outlets.