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Press Conference: “Justice for the Crime in Pylos – One Year Later”

One year after the deadliest shipwreck in the Mediterranean in recent years, the dead, missing, relatives, and survivors are seeking justice.

They are awaiting the conclusion of the investigation into a tragedy that could have been avoided. The allegations in the lawsuit filed by the 53 survivors -so far- concerning the responsibilities of the Greek port authorities, are currently being investigated as part of a preliminary examination by the Public Prosecutor of the Piraeus Naval Court.

The plaintiffs accuse the Greek port authorities of criminal acts and omissions related to search and rescue that resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives off the coast of Pylos: the fatal negligence—specifically, the failure to declare a search and rescue operation until after the fishing vessel had sunk, despite the vessel being identified by Greek authorities as in distress for over 12 hours; the failure of the authorities to activate and use appropriate means – even the distribution of life jackets – to rescue the passenger even during the post-sinking rescue operation; and, of course, the fatal towing of the vessel.

However, Frontex’s responsibilities are also under investigation. Despite detecting the ship’s distress situation early on and transmitting this information to the Greek authorities, Frontex did not issue an emergency alert (mayday) either initially or later, even when it did not receive information about the launch of a search and rescue operation from the Greek side.

The tragedy of Pylos demands answers and accountability, primarily from the Greek justice system.

At the same time, it holds both the Greek state and the European Union responsible. The shipwreck off Pylos is not an isolated incident but the consequence of the European Union’s now institutionalized policies of deterrence. These policies, aimed now at preventing refugees’ arrival, have progressively deviated from the rule of law and the EU’s proclaimed values, neglecting even the fundamental obligation to protect human life.

For some, life goes on. For others, the lives of the dead and missing were deemed less valuable because they were seen as “Others,” “strangers,” “not ours,” “not like us.”

But for those who lost their lives and for their loved ones still hoping for justice in their memory, life ended on June 14.

For them, for us, and for our societies, for the sake of democracy, we will continue to fight for justice. The life of every human being holds the same value, and its protection should not be subject to discrimination, compromises, or exceptions.

To discuss these issues and update you on the developments, the organisations representing the survivors in the lawsuit filed in the Piraeus Naval Court invite you to:

Press Conference

On Thursday 13 June

At 11.00 am Greek time

At the Athens Bar Association (60 Akadimias Street, Athens)

Speakers:

  • Yanna Kourtovik, Network for Refugee and Migrant Rights
  • Dimitra Linardaki, Initiative of Lawyers and Jurists for the shipwreck of Pylos
  • Maria Papamina, Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)
  • Katerina Poyrnara, Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR)
  • Eleni Spathana, Refugee Support Aegean (RSA)

The press conference will be moderated by Vassilis Papadopoulos, lawyer and Chairman of the Board of the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR).

The press conference will be conducted entirely in Greek

Organisations:

Network for Social Support of Refugees and Immigrants

Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR)

Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)

Initiative of Lawyers and Jurists for the shipwreck of Pylos

Refugee Support Aegean (RSA)

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