The Guardian

‘Saving lives is no crime’: migrants rescuer facing jail would do it again

A Spaniard who went to sea to save refugees could go to prison in Italy for 20 years. He talks about why humanity must come before politics
Spanish firefighter Miguel Roldán, who helped to rescue thousands of migrants: ‘I saw a lot of pain, suffering and death.’ Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer

It was the summer of 2017 and Miguel Roldán took 20 days of annual leave from his job as a firefighter and headed to the Mediterranean. It wasn’t the sparkling waters or pristine beaches that lured him but the desperate faces of migrants featured in newspaper and television reports as they attempted to make the perilous crossing from Libya to Italy.

The stretch of sea between the two nations is one of the most popular routes for migrants and refugees to enter Europe, and by the time – he had helped of them. Once he returned to his day job with the underwater unit of the Seville fire department, the remaining crew members went on to rescue another 14,000.

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