Greece sets up Afghan teenagers for campfire refugees

A Greek appeals court on Tuesday sentenced two 18-year-old Afghan asylum seekers to four years in prison for lighting a fire that burned down a camp in Lesbos that was holding thousands of migrants.

The ruling reduced their prison terms from five to four years for good behavior.

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Both were still minors when the Moria facility was burned to ashes by two consecutive fires on September 8 and 9, 2020.

Defense attorney Vicky Angelidou said after the appeal that the Lesvos court should have halved the original sentence handed down in March 2021.

She claimed there was a “blatant lack of credible evidence against them”.

The lawyer told AFP that extenuating circumstances were not taken into account, despite the couple being minors at the time of the fire.

In June 2021, a court on the island of Chios sentenced four other Afghan refugees to 10 years in prison for their part in the destruction on Lesbos.

Tension ran high in the overcrowded facility in Moria, where 13,000 migrants were trapped behind barbed wire, the largest in Europe at the time.

In the days following the fires, several Afghan asylum seekers were arrested on suspicion of lighting the fires to protest quarantine rules imposed on migrants who contracted COVID-19.

The 18-year-old Afghans were said to be returned to the Avlona minor detention center in Athens, where they have been held since September 19, 2020.

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