Castlegregory man detained in Greek prison

Fergus Dennehy

An international aid volunteer from Castlegregory is being held in a Greek prison this week after being accused of a list of offences including espionage.

Seán Binder (24) is in jail on the island of Lesbos after being arrested on August 24 with another volunteer, Sarah Mardini, following claims that he had been involved in human trafficking, money laundering, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation.

Seán had been working as a volunteer with NGO 'Emergency Response Centre International' - a group which helps refugees and migrants. An investigation into the claims is currently underway.

In a statement, Seán's family have said that he is entirely innocent and a legal team is working hard to have him cleared of all allegations against him. They have thanked the public for their support and have expressed their trust and confidence in the Greek judiciary.

Tralee councillor Toiréasa Ferris, who is a friend of the family, said that Seán's mother Fanny and the rest of his family have been overwhelmed by the support he has received so far.

"Seán himself, his family and most importantly, his solicitor are all adamant of his innocence and are working to clear his name," she said on Tuesday.

"We are hoping that due process will be done. He can be held for up to 18 months though and although we hope it doesn't come to that, it must be a very worrying time for his family," she added.

"We obviously do not know all the facts, but speaking from a personal standpoint as someone who has an interest in human rights, I cannot see how someone like Seán - who was drawn to work with people and gives his time freely and kindly - could be involved in anything like what has been reported. I would be shocked if it was true," she said.

An online petition and support page for Seán has been set up on the 'Free Humanitarians' website.