04 / 03 / 2023

#MoriaTrialWatch: Monitoring the trial of the Moria Six

#MoriaTrialWatch, an initiative by Solomon and omniatv, will publish a live feed of the proceedings on 6 March 2023.





In the early hours of 8 September 2020, a series of fires completely destroyed Moria, the largest refugee camp in Europe, on the island of Lesvos.

In the months that followed, six young Afghan men, who lived in the camp, were charged and eventually convicted of the felony of arson.

The Moria Six were convicted in two separate trials. Four defendants were tried as adults, even though three of them produced official documents from their country of origin proving they were minors, which were not accepted by the court. Indeed, the court determined that one of the defendants was a minor based on the evidence of an unauthorised expert – not a doctor but a social scientist, anthropologist/criminologist – and without following the steps provided by the relevant joint ministerial decision.

Under the pretext of the Covid-19 health measures, the court of first instance denied entry to the hearing to journalists, observers and a UNHCR representative. It also rejected the defence objection that the indictment was translated into a language the defendants could understand. Finally, the case file was based on the testimony of a single witness, who did not appear in either of the two trials and who remains missing to this day.

The four accused who were tried as adults were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment while the two minors were sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Ahead of the appeal hearing in the case of the four young men on 6 March 2023 at Mytilini Mixed Jury Court, on Lesvos, Solomon and omniatv have created an observatory that will contribute to the coverage of the trial with the support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation–Office in Greece and State of Concept Athens.

Using our experience from the live coverage of many other court cases of social interest during the last decade, we believe that the live, as well as responsible, recording and broadcasting of the courtroom proceedings will contribute, in an appropriate way, to ensuring publicity, which is one of the guarantees of a fair trial.

OmniaTV’s “The Case” column will provide a live, real-time feed from the courtroom in Greek (Twitter and Facebook). At the same time, Solomon will provide a summary of the same broadcast in English for an international audience (Twitter and Facebook). Both feeds will use the hashtag #MoriaTrialWatch.

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