A 21-year-old Syrian man was found guilty of the tragedy that took place off the coast of Farmakonisi in January 2014, when 12 migrants drowned. The man repeatedly rejected the charge that he was steering the migrant-carrying vessel, claiming to have been a refugee himself.

Despite his detailed report and witness reports, the Felony Appeal Court of Dodecanese in Rhodes argued that the Syrian was the ship captain and impost the 145 year and three month prison sentence (he will only serve 25 years, according to Greek legislation) and a 570,500 euro fine.

Specifically, the court imposed 15 years imprisonment and a 50,000 euro fine for the transportation of each migrant (they were 26 in total) and a further 6-month sentence and 500 euro fine for illegally entering the country.

A member of SYRIZA’ political secretariat, Mania Barsefski, who met the surviving migrants when they were taken to Piraeus, also testified in court. Mrs. Barsefski told the court that the ship turned over when it was being tugged back towards the Turkish shores by a Greek Coast Guard vessel.

Mrs. Barsefski claimed that the court imposed an “exhausting sentence” on the 21-year-old and «reversed the roles, declaring the victim – in this case the convicted Syrian refugee, into a victimizer”.