Two Underage Asylum Seekers Convicted for Arson Following Blaze that Burned Down Greek Migrant Camp

LESBOS, GREECE - SEPTEMBER 09: Fires continue to rage for a second night in the Moria migrant camp on September 9, 2020 in Lesbos, Greece. A massive fire ravaged the Moria migrant camp on Tuesday night leaving thousands homeless. (Photo by Byron Smith/Getty Images)
Byron Smith/Getty Images

Two teen Afghan asylum seekers have been convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for their role in the arson that saw the Moria migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos burn to the ground.

A Greek judge handed the sentences to the two 17-year-olds after being found guilty of arson related to the fire that engulfed the Moria migrant camp in September of last year, which displaced as many as 13,000 people who had been sheltering there.

While the migrants were found guilty, both have lodged an appeal and remain in custody in a juvenile prison north of the Greek capital of Athens, Kronen Zeitung reports.

Four other Afghan migrants remain in Greek custody and are also suspected of committing arson. A local NGO has stated that all four are underage unaccompanied asylum seekers.

Immediately following the blaze last year, local authorities suspected arson by residents of the camp, with migrants believed to have set fire to their own accommodation in reaction to a lockdown sparked by a case of the Wuhan coronavirus within the camp.

Some reports had also suggested that migrants had attacked firefighters as they tried to put out the blaze, which was made worse by high winds.

Days after the fire, Greek media released footage claiming to show migrants attempting to spread the fire around the camp by lighting piece of cardboard and other material and setting small fires.

Most of the Moria camp residents were moved to a new camp at Kara Tepe temporarily. Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis announced last month that the camp would be closed, and residents moved to a new 59-acre site near Mytilene.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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