Cork man accused of human trafficking while helping refugees in Greece

Cork man accused of human trafficking while helping refugees in Greece
Fanny Binder holding a photo of her son Sean Binder in Cork city. Pic Daragh McSweeney/Provision

A 24-year-old man from Co. Cork, who flew to Greece to help refugees, has been accused of human trafficking.

Sean Binder from Togher had been volunteering on the island of Lesbos with Emergency Response Centre International when he was arrested in February.

He faces 20 years in a Greek prison over claims he was also involved in human trafficking, money laundering, espionage and being a member of a criminal organisation.

The Herald reports he was first arrested in February but was allowed to return to Ireland several times, before he handed himself in to police last Monday in Greece after his colleague Sarah Mardini was detained.

Police said a total of 30 people from the same organisation were being investigated on suspicion of smuggling migrants into Greece, spying and laundering money.

Mr Binder's mother, Fanny, told the Irish Independent: "I don't know what to do, how to be, I can't sleep, I've taken time off work - my son is a good man.

"Sean went out to Lesbos to help refugees, as he wants to work in a humanitarian field and he's not done anything wrong.

"Now he's facing going to prison and I'm really worried for him - he's a college boy, not someone who should be going to prison for something he didn't do."

The 49-year-old mother explained why her son Sean travelled to Greece to help in the crisis.

She said: "He's been working for an NGO on Lesbos since last autumn and they mostly work in migrant camps, volunteering, giving medical help and education to children, washing blankets and everything that needs to be done in a camp.

"Sean got interested in helping those fleeing conflict because it is part of his heritage.

"His father, Van Khon, was a Vietnamese refugee who fled to Germany, where I met him, after the Vietnam War."

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