Protests planned for Cork volunteer being detained in Greece

Protests planned for Cork volunteer being detained in Greece
Fanny Binder, mother of Sean Binder, pictured in Cork city. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Olivia Kelleher

Five protests will be held in Ireland and across the world tomorrow to show solidarity with volunteer worker, Sean Binder, who is being held in a jail in Greece amid allegations of helping illegal migrants enter the country.

The 24-year-old Trinity College Dublin graduate was in Lesbos to help assist refugees on a humanitarian basis as part of work with Emergency Response Centre International.

He met with police in a voluntary capacity in August after being informed that was a person of interest in relation to the charity's alleged activities. He is currently in a jail in Chios awaiting trial.

His mother Fanny Binder says they are working on preparing a case for Sean and his co-accused who are two of his colleagues from the charity.

Fanny, who is from Germany but lives in Cork, says that conditions are good in the prison and that Sean is being treated as well as possible under the circumstances. She says her son is trying to keep mentally strong in spite of his difficult circumstances.

He is very focused and strong. He continues to try and help people crossing his path. He has days where he is not so good. He is innocent. It is hard to understand. I am glad that I am there (in Greece) and I can build his spirits up.

Ms Binder says Irish MEP's have endeavoured to help her but they are hampered by the fact that whilst Sean has lived here since he was a young child he is not an Irish national.

She is very proud of her son whom she says worked hard at the London School of Economics after he finished his undergraduate degree. She says he is transparent and honest and that the arrest is not consistent with the values he has espoused his whole life.

Ms Binder told Cork's 96FM that supporters will gather outside the Greek embassy in Dublin at 1pm tomorrow. She is grateful for a number of other protests which are being held around the world by friends of Sean who want to support him.

She hopes Sean will be released from prison pending his trial and says he is willing to abide by all the conditions of bail.

"Protests will be held at the same time in Berlin, London, Stockholm and Boston. It is just a solidarity demonstration to make more people aware of the situation.

It is still our prime goal to get them out until trial so that they are free. It is possible under Greek law. With a geographic restriction, it would be no problem. That is normal practice. What is happening now is very unusual.

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

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 has been living on Lesbos and volunteering for the Emergency Response Centre International NGO since last year.

Mr Binder was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, espionage and being a member of a criminal organisation. He denies the allegations. A petition set up at freehumanitarians.com regarding his detention has received over six thousand signatures.

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