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Syrian 'hero swimmer' Sara Mardini arrested by Greek authorities for helping refugees

Sara Mardini was arrested on Tuesday [Twitter]

Date of publication: 29 August, 2018

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Sara Mardini, 23, was arrested by Greek authorities along with other members of the ERCI for 'helping refugees enter Greece illegally'

Greek Police on Tuesday arrested one of the “heroic” Syrian sisters who pushed a refugee boat to shore, along with other members of a pro-refugee organisation under speculation that they had helped migrants enter the country illegally.

Sara Mardini, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee and her sister Yusra reached fame after they pulled a refugee boat for more than three hours across the Mediterranean Sea. The boat's engine had failed on its way to Europe as the refugees fled the war in Syria.

She and other two members of the Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were detained in the island of Lesbos, where thousands of refugees reside and are forced to endure abysmal living conditions.

Others who are not affiliated with the ERCI were also arrested.

“The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed,” a Greek police statement said.

During the raid, police rounded up a total of six Greek nationals and 24 others.

Members of the group were allegedly in touch with migrants and refugees on social media groups and had “actively assisted” them in unlawfully entering Greece from 2015 onwards, the police statement added.

Before her arrest, Sara and her family were granted refugee status in Germany and she received a scholarship to study in the Bard College in Berlin.

Her sister Yusra was spotted by her swimming coach, which led her to competing in the Rio Olympic Games in the summer of 2016.

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