Three Syrian Smugglers Convicted for Migrants’ Deaths

Defendants in court in Traunstein. (Photo: Picture Alliance/dpa/P. Kneffel)

A German court sentenced three Syrian men on Friday over the drowning of 13 migrants in the Mediterranean in 2015. Men were running a smuggling ring from Izmir in Turkey to Greek Mediterranean coastline.

Men, who had come to Germany as refugees from Syrian civil war, were charged with “professional smuggling of people resulting in death,” and the main defendant, 27-year-old man, was sentenced to four years in prison. The man who drove the boat will spend two years in prison, while third man, previously convicted for trafficking, received a two-year probation for acting as a liaison for refugees’ families in Germany.

The migrants drowned when their boat collided with a freighter near the Greek coast during their trip from Izmir to Lesbos. Thirteen people died, while 2 children remain missing.

The UN refugee agency says that 118,523 migrants have reached Europe in 2017 by crossing the Mediterranean. Out of that number, 2,420 have died or are missing.

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