Prague, Nov 26 (CTK) – The Prague Municipal Court remanded in custody yesterday Petr Karlik and Zdenek Grundza, two of the four suspected people smugglers whom the police Squad for Uncovering Organised Crime (UOOZ) detained within an international raid on Tuesday, their defence counsels have told CTK.
Both men were sent to extradition custody.
The decision on their extradition to Belgium that issued a warrant for their arrest will be made later.
The Regional Court in Usti nad Labem, north Bohemia, will deal with remanding the remaining suspects in custody.
The four detainees are suspected of masterminding the illegal transport of migrants from Albania, Syria, Macedonia and Kosovo to Britain. They thereby gained over 13 million crowns. They allegedly hired low-income Czechs and Slovaks as drivers of the lorries transporting the migrants.
The court decided on their custody behind closed door.
Karlik´s defence lawyer Michal Cernansky told CTK after the proceedings that his client was remanded in custody on the basis of an arrest warrant issued in Belgium.
He said he would file a complaint against the decision that the High Court would have to assess. He refused to comment on Karlik´s role in the gang of suspected people smugglers.
Grundza´s defence lawyer said he would not file a complaint without elaborating.
Now, the court must order proceedings on the suspects´ extradition to another EU member state, in particular to Belgium. The organised group members face five to 20 years in prison in Belgium.
The UOOZ started to investigate the information about the possible participation of Czech citizens in the gang in October 2014. A joint team of Czech, Belgian, British and German detectives worked on the case.
To date, it has documented 19 transports of illegal migrants and identified 18 drivers. The gang smuggled more than 100 illegal migrants, according to the police.