SYRIAN SMUGGLERS CONVICTED BY GERMAN COURT OVER DEATH OF REFUGEES
Last Updated: 2017-08-12
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BERLIN, Germany, Aug 12 (NNN-XINHUA) - A Bavarian regional court, in Traunstein, convicted three Syrian nationals, for their involvement in the deaths of 13 refugees, in the Mediterranean Sea.

The main defendant, a 27-year-old, was sentenced to four years in prison, while the captain of the boat, received a two-and-a-half-year sentence. The third defendant was placed on two years probation, under consideration of a previous sentence.

The Public Prosecution Office had demanded more severe punishments, ranging between four-and-a-half and 12.5 years.

The three convicted individuals ran a business, transporting refugees from the Turkish town of Izmir, to the coast of Greece. On one of their journeys in Sept, 2015, the heavily-overloaded and unlit dinghy, collided with a freight ship near the island of Lesbos.

A total of 13 people died and two children are still missing.

The main defendant was found to have recruited fellow Syrian citizens, for the dangerous journey from Turkey. The man who acted as the boat's captain was a refugee himself and took charge of the boat, in exchange for free passage. The third defendant was tasked with ensuring communication between refugees and their family members in Germany.

More than one million refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in Germany since 2015.-- NNN-XINHUA