On Aug. 21, Greek police arrested Sara Mardini, 23, renowned as one of the Syrian “hero swimmer” refugee sisters, at an airport in Greece. She faces charges of people smuggling, espionage and membership in a criminal organization and is being held in an Athens prison. A hearing Friday was scheduled before a judge to review the accusations against her, but she could be detained for up to 18 months or until the case goes to trial, according to an attorney working on her behalf.
Sara Mardini, a student in Germany, had been volunteering with European Response Centre International in Greece over the past several years, helping fellow refugees. Some who know Sara Mardini best, as well as others in the humanitarian world, are rallying around her and maintain her innocence. They say she’s being made an example because of her incredible story of survival and activism on refugee issues. And some activists are concerned, as well, about the broader implications of her arrest for those doing this kind of aid work in Europe.
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