Budapest (MTI) – A court in Kecskemet, central Hungary, has initiated the preliminary detention of three Bulgarians and one Afghan citizen in connection with the deaths of 71 migrants left in a truck on the side of a motorway in Austria.
The court ordered the preliminary detention for one month, the head of the Kecskemet court Ferenc Bicskei said. The suspects have allegedly carried out human trafficking as an organised criminal activity, by coercion, for financial gain, he added.
Spokesman of the court Szabolcs Sarkozy said the suspects are a 27-year-old Afghan man and three Bulgarian men aged 29, 30 and 50. Of the four suspects, only one had a Hungarian residency permit. They were arrested near the Serbian border on Thursday, after the truck with 71 bodies had been found in Austria, he added.
Criminals found guilty of human trafficking may be sentenced to 2 to 8 years in prison but if it their conduct is an organised criminal activity, the sentence is between 2 and 16 years, he said.
The suspects said they would appeal the decision on preliminary detention and denied committing a crime, he added.
The Bacs-Kiskun county public prosecutor’s spokesman said earlier Saturday that the suspected human traffickers were involved in the transport of the migrants from Hungary to Austria. The migrants entered Hungary from Serbia illegally and got into the truck, with Hungarian plates, near the border, Gabor Schmidt added.
The prosecutor’s office said their preliminary detention was necessary because the suspects have foreign affiliations and pose a flight risk.