Saving lives is not a crime
PPL Causas

Saving lives is not a crime

Miguel faces up to 20 years in prison for saving lives in the Mediterranean Sea. Help us ensure Miguel’s freedom and that acts of solidarity are not turned into a crime.

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    547% of 10 000€

    2959 backers

  • 12/07/2019

    Expired on

  • Completed

    This project has been successfully funded

Miguel faces up to 20 years in prison for saving lives in the Mediterranean Sea. Help us ensure Miguel’s freedom and that acts of solidarity are not turned into a crime.

Miguel Duarte, 26 years old from Azambuja, is a PhD student in mathematics at Instituto Superior Tecnico in Lisbon and could be facing 20 years in prison for saving lives.

Miguel volunteered with the German NGO Jugend Rettet in multiple missions rescuing migrants and refugees on the Mediterranean Sea. In 2018, Italian authorities declared him a suspect of aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

At the moment, Miguel and 9 other young members of the crew (Iuventa10 [1]) might face a sentence of 20 years in prison and thousands of Euros in fines. Simply for having saved 14.000 lives.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees affirmed: “We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe’s doorstep.”[2] In 2016, at the peak of this humanitarian crisis, Miguel did not turn a blind eye to them. On the contrary, he assumed an unconditional commitment to the defense and protection of the lives of thousands of human beings who try to cross from Africa to Europe in search for a better life. Miguel’s only crime was to reach out to those in need.

The European Union claims to be founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality and rule of law. In the last years, it has proudly assumed the role of a beacon for Human Rights – a role model for the world. However, the current refusal of humanitarian aid to refugees by many member states represents a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights they have pledged to uphold.

The responsible entity of the UN expressed its concerns, since the member states’ actions increasingly block the Search and Rescue operations carried out by the NGOs [2]. These actions include the closure of ports and the resort to legal action against organizations and volunteers, as is the case with the Portuguese citizen Miguel Duarte.

Dia Mundial do Refugiado a bordo do Iuventa. 123 pessoas a bordo.

Neither Miguel nor anyone else deserves to be punished for reaching out to those whose lives are in danger. When the humanitarian policies of the European Union failed, when many closed their eyes or looked away, the Iuventa ship patrolled the Mediterranean Sea in order to save lives. Does acting in solidarity imply facing 20 years in prison? The team of lawyers supporting Miguel and the Iuventa crew estimated the legal costs of the lawsuit to amount to ca. 500.000 Euros. Additional costs include the transport to meetings with the crew, with the legal team and to the court hearings. We cannot leave them on their own in this fight.

We need your help to ensure Miguel’s freedom and to ensure that acts of solidarity are not turned into a crime!

Miguel could be any of us. Miguel could have saved any of us.


[1] -

[2] -

About the author

HuBB - Humans Before Borders is a platform for action against and raising awareness on inhumane and illegal treatment of migrants and refugees. We are a group of citizens who want to remind the European Union of its core values, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the right to asylum. HuBB was created in September 2018 out of a common desire amongst people of various nationalities to bring reliable information to the political debate. Since then we have organized events, created awareness campaigns and invited numerous experts in the various human rights areas, and in particular issues related to borders and refugees. One of the most significant principles that unites us is the belief that individual action makes a difference and collective action can change the world.

Miguel Duarte a bordo do navio de resgate marítimo Iuventa.

Budget and due dates

Miguel and his nine colleagues are currently under investigation by the Public Prosecutor of Trapani in Sicily and everything indicates that the case will go to trial. A team of lawyers led by the Italian lawyer Nicola Canestrini is supporting Miguel and the Iuventa crew in this fight against the criminalization of solidarity. They estimate the legal costs for the trial to amount to ca. 500.000 Euros. This campaign aims to raise not the total amount necessary to cover the costs, but the amount we deem realistic in light of the people we are able to reach. It is a campaign directed to Portugal but it is part of a collective effort coordinated by many people in various European countries. The volunteers that are being investigated are citizens of Germany, Scotland, Spain and Portugal. Both they and the lawyers are obliged to travel from various European countries to Brussels, Seville, the South of Italy, Lisbon, etc. frequently to construct a defence strategy and to appear in court. It is impossible to predict the duration of this whole process but the lawyers estimate that it will drag on for several years. We cannot leave them on their own in this fight. We need your help in defending solidarity. It is crucial that Miguel and his colleagues have access to the best possible legal defence.

  • Invest with
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    Thank you!

    Thank you for your help and solidarity. Every contribution is valuable.

    772 backers

  • Invest with
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    A big thank you!

    With your contribution you ensure that we can continue to defend human rights. Thank you for being a part of this.

    935 backers

  • Invest with
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    Public acknowledgement

    HuBB will share your name as a supporter at the end of this campaign. Thank you for helping Miguel have the best possible legal defense to ensure that acts of solidarity are not turned into a crime.

    664 backers

  • Invest with
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    Solidarity kit

    We believe we are together in this cause and because of that we want to send you a collection of posters and stickers designed by HuBB, to serve as a reminder that individual action make a difference. Thank you for acting.

    196 backers

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    Coffee and conversation

    We love to meet people that decide to act against injustice and break the silence. Because of this we invite you to ask all of your questions over a cup of coffee with humanitarian aid workers.

    102 backers

Fri, 12/04/2024 - 15:14

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 11:44

Payout completed

The raised funds have been transferred to the campaign owner


Campaign ended

The campaign successfully raised the initial target

Sun, 16/06/2019 - 07:27

100% reached

WE DID IT! We met our initial target but the fundraising can continue

Tue, 11/06/2019 - 20:07

100% reached

WE DID IT! We met our initial target but the fundraising can continue

Sat, 08/06/2019 - 14:52

50% reached

We've just achieved half the target! The glass is now more full than empty ;)

Fri, 07/06/2019 - 11:25

First five backers

We've gathered the first 5 backers. Hurray!

Campaign launched


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  • Rui Pedro Ribeiro



    Eu sou o Rui Pedro Ribeiro, tenho 23 anos, sou de milheirós e tenho uma doença genética, chamada de Distrofia Muscular de Duchenne. que não tem cura. Sou atualmente atleta federado do FC Porto desde 2016 na modalidade de boccia.Estou a tirar a licenciatura em Contabilidade e Administração no ISCAP. Venho desta forma pedir ajuda para a compra e adaptação de uma casa adaptada às minhas necessidades. Na minha casa atual, encontro-me sem espaço, uma vez que na passagem para o meu quarto bato imensas vezes com os pés na porta, porque é estreita. Não consigo ter um quarto de banho adaptado, para ir à casa de banho a situação é pior, tenho de ficar com a cadeira no corredor e a minha mãe tem de pegar em mim ao colo, também bato com os pés na porta, já me magoei várias vezes e a agora no dia 20 de novembro parti a perna devido a casa não estar adaptada a mim. mais info aqui:

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  • tomás colaço

    defendi alguns emigrantes em trânsito em Tânger e fui preso.

    Estavam a ser roubados (dinheiro e telefones) pelos militares e a ser espancados. Passei de carro e vi, como é que poderia não ligar? Depois declararam que eu estava a boicotar uma missão do exército e tive de assinar um texto em que dizia que não pertencia a nenhuma organização. Terrível.

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  • Carlos Gomes

    Eu faria o mesmo!!!!

    Eu faria o mesmo!!!!

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  • Sara David Lopes



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  • Elza Maria Sousa Cunha

    Miguel Duarte - salvar vidas é um acto de nobreza imensa!!

    Uma inadmissível injustiça e atentado contra o mais básico da defesa dos Direitos Humanos...
    Salvar vidas NÃo é crime!! É antes um acto de Humanidade e um dever de todos nós!

    Não se se a Amnistia Internacional Portugal já tem conhecimento deste caso, mas eu própria acabei de enviar um e-mail à mesma a fazer essa pergunta e também a denúncia!
    Acredito que juntos podemos construir um mundo melhor e mais justo para TODOS!

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