Coming to the aid of drowning migrants? Get ready to be treated like a criminal | Lorena Gazzotti
Authorities on both sides of the Mediterranean want to silence the activists and NGOs who are inconvenient witnesses to the brutality of border policing
Activists and NGOs defending migrants’ rights will remember 2017 as the year in which they were targeted by legal systems in Europe and north Africa. Take the case of Helena Maleno Garzón, a Spanish journalist and human rights advocate. You may not have heard of her. But authorities on both sides of the strait of Gibraltar know her well.
Maleno, who has been living in Tangier since 2001, will on 27 December face a hearing as part of an investigation by Moroccan authorities into her alleged collusion with smuggling and human-trafficking networks. Central to the case are the calls that Maleno has been making to the Spanish and the Moroccan coastguards since 2007 about boats in distress in the strait and the Alboran Sea. Because of their proximity to migrant communities in northern Morocco, Maleno and other activists regularly receive distress calls, and they relay the signals to naval authorities, a vital step in ensuring migrants’ rescue.Continue reading...