Sara Mardini, Former Syrian Swimmer, Arrested For Helping Refugees

Sara Mardini and her sister Yusra captured the world’s heart in 2015 after saving 18 people from a sinking boat in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015.

Yusra then then competed as a member of Team Refugee in Rio, while Sara went on to go to college in Berlin.

Now, Sara Mardini, 23, has been arrested for helping migrants reach the Greek island of Lesbos. Police said it was an operation to dismantle a “criminal network” involving 30 members of an NGO working on the island, according to The Telegraph.

“For me, this is clearly a case of criminalising help given to refugees,” Haris Petsikos, her lawyer told The Telegraph, adding that she is being detained in a prison outside of Athens.

The NGO on the island is accused of offering direct assistance to people traffickers, asking for advance warning of arrivals without passing on information to authorities, according to The Telegraph. Lesbos has been a gateway into the European Union.

Mardini has been volunteering on the Greek island for Emergency Response Centre International where thousands of migrants are living in camps, according to sources.

Mardini and her younger sister have gone through a similar process when they were migrants. They tried to reach Lesbos from Turkey on a boat, which ended up nearly sinking. But Mardini and her sister used their swimming abilities to pull the boat to safety, saving the 18 people on board.

1 comment

  1. Mahsa Abdi

    Truly sad!