A regional chief prosecutor’s office in south-eastern Hungary has pressed people smuggling charges against a Czech driver who had been apprehended with 32 illegally travelling Syrians crammed in a van.
According to a statement from the Bács-Kiskun County chief prosecutor’s office, the van had been converted for the purpose, the migrants hiding in two compartments behind barrels and logs of wood. Nine of the Syrians were minors, and several of them were unconscious when police stopped the van on the M5 motorway, heading for Austria, on 29 April.
The migrants, suffering from dehydration and a lack of ventilation, were banging on the door of their compartments but the driver would not stop until he saw the police, the statement said. The Czech man is facing imprisonment for people smuggling and torture.
Two Latvian drivers apprehended in early August with 16 illegal migrants in their van have been sentenced to four years imprisonment each, the Veszprém County chief prosecutor’s office told MTI on Friday.
According to the charges, the 19 and 25 year old defendants had hired a van in Slovakia and drove to the Hungary-Serbia border to pick up a group of Afghans and carry them to Austria for a fee of 2,500 euros each.
The migrants were travelling in an unventilated space without food or water, the statement added. The ruling also stipulates that the defendants will be expelled from Hungary for eight years once they have served their prison terms.