Mother of Cork man arrested in Greece on human trafficking charges appeals to Irish authorities

Mother of Cork man arrested in Greece on human trafficking charges appeals to Irish authorities
Sean Binder's mother, Fanny, holding a photo of him.

By Olivia Kelleher

The mother of a young charity worker from Cork arrested on suspicion of human trafficking in Greece has appealed to the Irish authorities to intervene in his case.

Fanny Binder claims her 24-year-old son, Sean, is innocent of all the accusations he faces.

Ms Binder said he was in Lesbos to help assist refugees in a humanitarian capacity in keeping with his studies. Trinity College Dublin and London School of Economics graduate Sean will be moved tomorrow from his holding cell in a jail in Lesbos to a formal prison setting on another island.

Fanny, aged 49, has appealed to the Irish authorities and politicians to intervene on behalf of Sean whom is originally from Germany but has lived in Kerry and Cork since he was five.

"The problem is that he isn't Irish. He doesn't have citizenship. He hasn't (an Irish passport) because we never thought it was necessary.

"I can understand that there is no procedure for them to influence anybody but Ireland is a small country that is very neutral but it has a big say in the European Union."

In a statement the Department of Foreign Affairs said they were unable to comment on individual cases.

The department said in their statement: "However, we can confirm we are aware of a situation involving a German Citizen in Greece, the Department stands ready to assist our German Colleagues where appropriate.”

Ms Binder says that the more pressure that is put on the Greek public and the Greek authorities, the better.

"I am very frightened. If he had a broken foot I would know what to do.

"It is such a powerless situation and I know and everyone that knows Sean knows this is the most bizarre thing."

"Sean wrote a training programme for transparency in inter-organisational training with the Coast Guard. He wanted transparency. And now he is in jail."

Ms Binder told the Opinion Line on Cork's 96FM that she has met with her son twice since his detention and that he was holding up as well as he could under the circumstances.

She says her son is "transparent and open."

She told the radio station: "Sean went there to help and to volunteer. He is following what is supposed to be his career.

"He wanted to go and see how it is because he is very involved through his studies in human rights and the whole crisis in conflict areas because that is what he studied for six years.

"It was only natural to go and make a difference for a while and then move on with the knowledge that he gained there."

Fanny is concerned that Sean faces up to 18 months detainment with no charges. She is worried about the visiting arrangements when he goes into the more complex prison structure.

She said: "I try not to think about this but worst case scenario he would be (facing years in prison)."

She added that she is "frightened" for her son whom she claims was only in Lesbos to help the "most vulnerable" as they arrive on the shores of Europe.

Sean, who is from Togher in Cork, is one of three people who have been arrested in relation to the police investigation in Greece. He turned himself in to police last Tuesday after a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Sean has been living on Lesbos and volunteering for the Emergency Response Centre International NGO since last year. He can be held for 30 days without charge and will be detained at the Chios Island prison.

Mr Binder was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, espionage and being a member of a criminal organisation.

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