Criminal cases against volunteer who helped Spanish coast guards rescue migrants dropped

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SHELVED: Maleno (inset) helped Spanish coast guards rescue migrants.. PHOTO CREDITS: Salvamento Maritimo (main), Helena Maleno Galzon (inset), both via Twitter


MOROCCAN authorities have dropped a criminal case launched against a Spanish activist who took a leading role in helping her country’s coast guard find and rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.

A Tangier court said it was shelving proceedings against Helena Maleno this week. It comes after a trial court closed their case into the activist and volunteer in December 2018 following a probe under human trafficking laws.

Maleno said the decision to file the case would allow her and her charity to continue working to rescue migrants.

“At a time when the defence of the rights of migrants is being criminalised all over the world, and especially in Europe, the filing of the case is exemplary news,” the activist said. 

Maleno, of the Walking Borders NGO, made distress calls to Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo to alert them to migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean so they could be rescued. The activist made around 70 per cent of all alert calls received by the authorities, according to Spanish government sources.

Walking Borders said: “The criminalisation of the defence of human rights human rights represents a regression of democracy.”

Morocco’s probe into Maleno’s work dates back to 2012. Moroccan and Spanish investigators said there was no evidence she had done nothing illegal at several points during the probe.

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