The Court of Appeal in Kalamata, which examined the tragic incident, determined that it lacked jurisdiction over the case because the shipwreck occurred in international waters. This ruling was based on the primary defence objection. Evidence presented at the hearing confirmed the wreck occurred 47 nautical miles southwest of Pylos, outside Greek waters. Witnesses were questioned about the location of the shipwreck, their intended destination, and their point of departure. The court also found the defendants not guilty of charges including human trafficking, causing a shipwreck, and criminal organisation.

“Summarising, from the hearing, the documents, the witnesses, and the defendants’ testimonies, it clearly and beyond any doubt emerged that the shipwreck occurred in international waters. Namely, at 47 nautical miles southwest of Pylos, i.e., outside Greek waters, where no Greek jurisdiction exists. It is not understood that the crimes for which they are accused can be objectively proven, and I propose that they be declared innocent,” stated the prosecutor, concluding his proposal.

“The court finds the criminal prosecution inadmissible […] It finds the accused innocent,” the judges decided.

It is important to note that the defendants were victims of a fast-track judicial process. The nine Egyptian survivors, still in wet clothes, were arrested and remanded in custody despite continuous journalistic and investigative reports suggesting the Coast Guard’s actions led to the boat capsizing, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

On the morning of the trial, outside the Criminal Appeals Court, various groups including the Anti-Fascist Movement of Kalamata, SYRIZA of Messinia, New Left, KEERFA, and other organisations and unions gathered in solidarity. Reports indicate that the gathered protesters faced unnecessary aggression from the police. Specifically, the police responded aggressively when the crowd attempted to unfurl a banner, resulting in two injuries—one person with a serious head injury and another with bruises. The police also made two arrests.


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