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The Civil Fleet Podcast

May 20, 2022

In today's episode, we speak with Kathrin Schmidt, a rescue worker who saved the lives of 14,000 refugees in the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Iuventa five years ago. 

This Saturday, May 21, she and three others from the ship are due to appear in an Italian court on charges of facilitating illegal entry into the country. They could all face 20 years behind bars. 

The charges are bogus, of course, and Kathrin is going to tell us why. She will also explain how the Italian secret services wiretapped the Iuventa and surveilled journalists and lawyers speaking with their clients. 

She will also explain what this case means for the future of activist-led sea rescues, and for the people on the move at Europe's edges.

---Show notes---
For more on the Iuventa, visit the website here:

If you can, you can set up a donation to them here: 

Follow the Iuventa Crew on Twitter: @IuventaCrew

You can also read this 2020 The Civil Fleet interview with Iuvena crew members Dariush Beigui and Hendrik Simon on their arrest here:

And/or listen to episode 2, which features Sascha, the Iuventa's former head of operations

You can read more of The Civil Fleet's Iuventa stories here:

Read more about the EU-Turkey deal here: 

MRCC stands for Marine Rescue Coordination centre. 

An SAR Zone stands for Search-and-rescue zone. 

You can find a glossary of similar terms that often pop up on the podcast often here: 

Frontex is the European Border and Coastguard Agency. It has been accused of aiding the Greece authorities to illegally push people back across its borders and of assisting the Libyan Coastguard to intercept refugees escaping the country. See episode 23 for more.

The Civil Fleet exposed how the EU's supposed training of the Libyan Coastguards, and Frontex's relationship with them, only made matters worse for those trying to escape across the Mediterranean. Read that here: 

Carola Rackete is an environmental and human rights activist from German. In June 2019, while captaining the Sea-Watch 3 and carrying 40 rescued refugees for 17-days, she sailed into port against the commands of the Italian authorities. She was placed under house arrest. But, in January 2020, Italy's highest court said she should never have been arrested nor charged with anything. You can read about that here: 

Sean Binder is another activist who has been arrested, detained and dragged through the courts for having saved hundreds of refugees lives. He appears in episode 16 of The Civil Fleet Podcast, along with Madi Williamson, a qualified nurse who has faced similar troubles for her humanitarian work. 

The Samos 2 are two refugees, known as N and Hasan, who have been put on trial in Greece. Hasan was charged with human trafficking because he allegedly drove the boat they were on. N lost his son when their boat crashed as they approached the shore. He became the first refugee ever to be charged with "endangering the life of his child." On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, N was found innocent and Hasan was freed on a suspended sentence. You can read more about them here:

In the UK, the Appeals Court overturned the sentences of four people who were sent to prison for having driven dinghies across Channel. You can read about that here: 

The Civil Fleet revealed in March 2021 that the UK government was spending up to £1 billion ($1.2bn / €1.1bn) on drones to fly over the Channel, the sole purpose of which appeared to be to help the state prosecute people seen driving the boats. Read about that here: 

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