Greece. Four Afghan migrants jailed over Moria camp fire Human Rights News:

Defendants’ attorneys condemned the “lack of sense of justice” after a court found the couple guilty of arson.

Four Afghan asylum seekers have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the fire Moria migrant camp destroyed in Greece last year.

A court in Chios on Saturday found the defendants guilty of arson while their lawyers condemned the “lack of sense of justice”, telling AFP that they had appealed immediately after the verdict.

The Afghans were handcuffed and taken to court; they were expected to return to the Avlona prison outside Athens, where they were being held until the trial.

In March, two other Afghan youths were sentenced to five years in prison in connection with the case.

Moria Camp on Aegean Island in Lesbos – more accommodating more than 10,000 people before it was destroyed by two fires in September 2020 fires,

View of the Moria camp destroyed after the fires on the island of Lesbos [File: Reuters/Vassilis Triandafyllou]

Greek authorities believe the fires were deliberately set on fire by camp residents quarantine measures were used after the discovery of COVID-19 cases among people living on the site.

About 20 people, mostly members of foreign solidarity groups, gathered in front of the court to demand the release of the defendants.

Defense attorneys said the Afghans did not receive a fair trial.

The prosecution relies heavily on the testimony of another Afghan asylum seeker, who identified the six as criminals.

But, according to the defenders, the witness was not in court on Friday, he did not appear at the trial in March, because he could not be placed.

The defendants claim that they targeted a witness, an ethnic Pashtun, as all six are Hazaras, a minority persecuted in Afghanistan.

Other witnesses for the prosecution were police officers, firefighters who were called to the scene in September 2020, European Asylum Officers and non-governmental groups working in the camp.

Built in 2013 to hold up to 3,000 people, Moria Camp was overcrowded in 2015 as a huge influx of people began arriving in small boats from Turkey.

About 13,000 asylum seekers, including families with children, pregnant women and people with disabilities, were forced to sleep in the open. one week the camp was destroyed by fire.

Authorities have since set up a temporary camp on Lesbos, home to about 6,000 people.

The EU has allocated $ 336 million to build a new permanent camp in Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros.

About 10,000 asylum seekers currently live on five Aegean islands, the vast majority of whom hope to settle elsewhere in the EU.

A migrant is carrying his belongings in connection with the fire that broke out in Moria camp [File: Reuters]

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