A court on the Greek island of Lesbos has rejected charges against a group of aid workers and volunteers who participated in migrant rescue operations,

ruling on procedural grounds to return the case to the prosecution for refiling. The case in which 24 people, 17 foreigners and seven Greeks,

were charged over their work with migrants newly arriving on Lesbos, has drawn widespread criticism from human rights organisations.

The defendants argue they were doing nothing more than assisting people whose lives were at risk. Lesbos court says cases brought against two dozen people have procedural flaws.

“Trials like this are deeply concerning because they criminalise life-saving work and set a dangerous precedent,” the UN Human Rights Office said before the court decision on Friday.

“Indeed, there has already been a chilling effect, with human rights defenders and humanitarian organisations forced to halt their human rights work in Greece and other EU countries.”

Those on trial included prominent Syrian human rights worker Sarah Mardini, a refugee and competitive swimmer

whose sister Yusra Mardini was part of the refugee swim team at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2021. The sisters’ story was made into a Netflix movie.