Secondary defendant of migrant truck deaths case testifies in court
The secondary defendant charged with people smuggling which led to the deaths of 71 migrants in a lorry found in Austria in August 2015 testified in court on Thursday. He denied the charge of murder and claimed he had only facilitated communications between two of the other defendants by providing simultaneous language interpretation over the phone.
At the court in Kecskemét, in central Hungary, he admitted earlier people smuggling operations and recruiting smugglers.
Migrants from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq were among the victims found in the lorry with Hungarian number plates abandoned on the hard-shoulder of the A4 highway near Parndorf, Austria, on August 27, 2015.
The lorry which set off from Kecskemét was driven by a 25-year-old Bulgarian accompanied by a 38-year-old compatriot, it added.
Approximately half an hour after departure, the migrants banged and cried out that they were suffocating, but the smugglers kept driving for several hours without stopping, the statement said.
The driver of the lorry said earlier in court that he had acted on the instructions of the first, second and third accused in fear of his life.
The driver insisted that the primary defendant had been prepared to execute the 71 migrants.