Human traffickers sentenced in death of 71 migrants

In August 2015, the dead and decomposing bodies of 71 migrants were discovered in abandoned truck on the A4 in Austria. On Thursday, the 14 defendants accused of the crime were sentenced by the court in Kecskemét, Hungary.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Human traffickers sentenced in death of 71 migrants - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

In August 2015, police discovered an abandoned truck on the A4 filled with the decomposing bodies of 71 men, women and children from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Police charged the 14 men responsible with crimes ranging from homicide to criminal conspiracy. Because the authorities determined that the migrants died while travelling through Hungarian territory, the trial took place in Kecskemét.

On Thursday, June 14, the four leaders of the operation -- three Bulgarians and an Afghan -- were found guilty of homicide and sentenced to 25 years.  

The other ten accused received lesser sentences.

This episode took place during the summer of 2015 migrant crisis and is considered one of the reasons behind Germany's open border immigration. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Germany's policy change soon after this incident.

Details from the story:

  • The migrants died on August 26, 2015 and their corpses found on August 27 in a vehicle abandoned on the A4 in the Parndorf in Burgenland, Austria.
  • During the journey they screamed for help, but the driver did not stop.  
  • Three of the defendants were tried in abstentia.
  • The 10 sentenced for lesser charges received from 3 to 12 years in prison.
  • Hungarian prosecuters appealed the 25 year sentences handed out to the 4 ringleaders, asking for life sentences instead.
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