Greek Court Jails People Smugglers for 1,400 Years



    Conditions endured by migrants. (Greek police photo).

    Four people convicted in Greece of running an international migrant smuggling outfit, have been sent to jail for 1,400 years.

    The convictions follow an international police operation which saw 112 migrants rescued from a cave and farm buildings in southern Crete last year.

    The U.K.’s National Crime Agency — Britain’s equivalent of the FBI — said the migrants had been charged between €2,000 -€4,000 euros ($2,360 – €4,730) for their journey through Greece which was supposed to end in Italy.

    However, the raid instead netted the ringleaders of the gang and on Wednesday two Afghan men and a Syrian national were sentenced to 360 years each.

    An Iraqi national received 357 years.

    The NCA’s Chris Hogben, head of the taskforce, said: “The criminal networks involved in people smuggling cross international boundaries so it is vital as an international law enforcement community we work together to tackle them.

    “The U.K. provided vital support in this investigation, and it shows how our partnership with the Greek authorities is vital to protect life and disrupt the organized crime groups making money from people’s misery.

    “The utter disregard for human life shown by those groups was clearly demonstrated in this case, with migrants forced to live in squalor and then attempt an incredibly dangerous journey by sea.

    “The very substantial sentences handed down by the Greek Court should send a very clear message to those tempted to profit from this sort of criminality.”

    Firearms, cellphones and cash seized during police raid in Crete, March 2017 (Greek police photo)