Internationally acclaimed Norwegian photographer Knut Bry was arrested on the Greek island of Lesvos on Thursday, suspected of espionage.
According to local media stonisi, he was arrested for taking pictures of the Greek Coast Guard and Navy vessels.
Citing Coast Guard sources, the local news website notes that the vessels were in the photographs he shot. During a search of his home in the presence of a judicial representative, electronic archives with photographs were seized, and are now under examination.
“He has been referred to the First Instance prosecutor of Mytilene with heavy felony charges for espionage and received 24 hours to prepare his testimony,” stonisi reports. He will testify on Friday.
The photographer is a volunteer for human rights group on Lesvos
Bry has won a number of photographic awards, among them Photographer of the Year in the United States in 1986 and in Norway in 1989.
He has visited Lesvos several times in the recent past and has campaigned for migrants and refugees crossing into the Aegean island from the Turkish coast. He has been critical of Greece’s policy on migration accusing Greek authorities of migrant pushbacks.
The United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has called for Greece to stop pushing back migrants who are attempting to seek asylum in the country.
Greek politicians denied the accusations that such pushbacks were taking place, saying that the UNHCR has been misled by Turkish propaganda. Turkey recently bolstered its claims that Greece was responsible for the deaths of migrants pushed back from its borders.
Bry is a volunteer for the Lesvos Solidarity group, a human rights group catering to the welfare of migrants and refugees arriving on Lesvos.
In a Facebook message, the group announced his arrest and noted: “Bry was arrested in the port of Mytilene, where he was shooting for his next book on the landscapes of Lesvos! Knut above all loves the island and its people as he is always been next to those in need with his lens and his special look. The Knut case is, unfortunately, another example of the unjustified criminalization of innocent people.”