Irish student on bail in Greece ‘will continue to help’ illegal migrants

Sean Binder was charged with human trafficking and awaits trial

Fanny Binder, mother of Sean, holds up photo of the Trinity graduate. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fanny Binder, mother of Sean, holds up photo of the Trinity graduate. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

 

An Irish charity worker who was released on bail from a Greek prison yesterday has told of his determination to continue his work to highlight the plight of illegal migrants.

Sean Binder, a 24-year-old Trinity College Dublin graduate, was in Lesbos to assist refugees in a humanitarian basis as part of his work with Emergency Response Centre International. He met with police in a voluntary capacity in August after being informed that he was a person of interest in relation to the charity’s alleged activities.

He and three other NGO volunteers have spent the last three months in a Greek jail after they were accused of helping illegal migrants enter the country. All four have been released on bail.

Pending trial

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Binder said he could not comment on his arrest or the case as he is on bail pending the trial. He said that the issue was “nothing to do with me as such. It is part of a wider policy.

“I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to have their humanitarian work put under suspicion.”

He said he would not be deterred from his work. “To the contrary. I believe more than ever that there is something I can do to promote the fact that people shouldn’t be drowning or freezing.”

He said that there appeared to be some legal uncertainty and tensions between institutions that had the same goal, which was “not to let people drown in the sea.”

A date has not yet been set for his trial and he remains in Greece. Mr Binder expressed his thanks for the “amazing” support” he has received.

Mr Binder was born in Germany, but has lived in Ireland since he was five years old when the family moved to Castlegregory, Co. Kerry.