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Appeals court upholds 3.5-year verdict for migrant smuggler

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Brno, July 11 (CTK) – The Slovak who was caught transferring 26 migrants in humiliating conditions in his van across the Czech Republic in 2015 will spend 3.5 years in prison based on the decision of the Czech Supreme Court (NS), which upheld a lower-level court’s verdict, according the NS’s database of verdicts.

CTK’s enquiry showed that this is the first decision released by the NS which deals with the crime of organising and enabling an illegal crossing of the state border since last year’s outburst of the migrant crisis.

The police halted the van near the south Bohemian border on August 6, 2015, when it was heading for the Strazny-Philippsreut Czech-German border crossing.

The police said the driver was a Slovak national and the migrants, coming from Afghanistan, were a group of 15 men, four women and seven children.

A trial showed that the driver accepted the refugees in Hungary and wanted to transfer them to Germany. In the van, the migrants had little air and space, less than one square metre for each of them.

The NS upheld the lower-level court’s view that the driver undoubtedly acted intentionally and as a member of an organised group. It emphasised that the migrants travelled in humiliating conditions.

The driver’s objection that they knew what they could expect from travelling in the van changes nothing about this, the NS said.

In the past months, Czech courts also dealt with the case of Zoltan Kapinecz and Menyhert Sas, Hungarians who were caught transferring 76 refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan in a lorry last July. The police halted the lorry on the D5 motorway near Stribro, west Bohemia. The two men were sentenced each to three years in prison. The verdict took effect only this June.

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