Hungary has sentenced four men to 25-year jail terms over the deaths of 71 migrants who suffocated and died in a sealed lorry in August 2015.
Police caught the victims’ while decomposing bodies in the lorry. It registered in Hungary and abandoned near an Austrian village.
An Afghan who identified as the gang leader got 25 years, as did three Bulgarian assistants. However, ten others got shorter jail terms. All of them found guilty of people-smuggling.
Central Europe faced a huge influx of migrants in 2015. Many of them were escaping Syria and other conflict zones. The accused are on trial in the city of Kecskemet. They can appeal against the verdicts.
The victims of the lorry incident came from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. They comprised eight women and four children while the other included 59 men.
The 71 victims believed to have suffocated less than three hours after it set off. They were crammed into the back of a small Volvo meat lorry with standing room only.
All of them died on a burning hot day in Hungary. The lorry found near Parndorf, just across the border in Austria.
The lorry had also sealed airtight and emblazoned with pictures of sausages and a chicken’s head.
According to the prosecution, the smugglers ignored the sound of the migrants banging on the sealed interior, as the oxygen ran out.
The alleged gang leader is Samsoor Lahoo. He is a 31-year-old Afghan. The proof produced against him also included a phone-tap recording. In this tape-recording, he apparently ordered the driver to keep going in spite of the victims’ cries for help.
Between February and August 2015 the gang smuggled 1,200 migrants into Austria via Hungary and earned at least €300,000, prosecutors further said.
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