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Greek court grants bail to activists detained over refugees

Spanish human rights activists Mikel Zuloaga (L) and Begona Huarte

A court in Greece has given bail to two Spanish activists who were arrested for allegedly trying to take a group of refugees out of the country.

The Greek court on Friday ordered authorities to free the members of the Basque group Ongi etorri Errefuxiatuak, which means "Refugees welcome", on bail set at 2,000 euros ($2,100) each, pending trial.

The court has yet to set a date for the trial.

The two were arrested at the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa on December 27, according to coastguard sources.

Media reported the duo, Mikel Zuloaga, 61, and Begona Huarte, 59, had allegedly tried to smuggle eight hidden refugees in a camper van out of the country when border guards found them.

The pair announced in a recorded video that their move was a political statement to show their opposition to the "barbaric" policies adapted by European governments against hapless refugees and asylum seekers fleeing from war and persecution.

The group’s website advocates disobedience of the unjust rules and regulations set up against refugees.

"We disobey governments that have turned borders into places of death, detention and dehumanization," reads on the rights group’s website.

The group calls for better understanding of the plight of refugees, fighting the root causes, such as the historical plunder of their countries, or the conflicts which the West has benefited from, and a humane response to the refugee crisis.

An online petition to release the two activists had been signed by thousands of human rights activists prior to the court order.

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