Open Arms founder ‘worried’ about possible prison sentences for members

Following refugee rescue operation, organization has been accused of “fostering illegal immigration”

Founder of Proactiva Open Arms at European Parliament (by ACN)
Founder of Proactiva Open Arms at European Parliament (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

March 27, 2018 04:20 PM

The founder of the Catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms, Òscar Camps, has expressed his concern on Tuesday about members of the organization being accused of facilitating illegal immigration and facing the possibility of prison sentences. They are currently under investigation by Italian authorities after carrying out a rescue operation in which 216 refugees were saved from drowning.

“We are very worried that any member of the organization could go to prison,” Camps said, highlighting the fact that the sentence could carry up to 15 years in jail. He asserted that they are doing all they can for the members to be exempted of the charges against them.

For the time being, however, Camps explained that they are waiting to hear what the judge says before taking any further action. “When we believe they are free of this accusation, we can move forward,” he said.

The organization’s ship was blocked  in Sicily, and has now been confiscated by Italian authorities. However, they are preparing another ship in order to continue carrying out refugee rescue operations. “We understand that Italy has a big interest in the immobilization of the ship, and believe it will be immobilized for a long period,” Camps explained.