Migrant people-smuggling gang jailed in Austria
The Local/AFP · 12 Feb 2016, 09:01
Published: 12 Feb 2016 09:01 GMT+01:00
- Serbian gang smuggled 2,000 refugees into Austria (11 Feb 16)
- Austria looks set to construct more border fences (10 Feb 16)
- Asylum seekers given priority for hospital visits (09 Feb 16)
The alleged ringleader of the gang, a 43-year old Serbian national, received seven years in prison for setting up a "professional organisation" of human traffickers.
His accomplices, who included his mother and his partner, were jailed for up to four years.
Austrian police had arrested the five last September.
Prosecutors at the tribunal in Korneuburg, near Vienna, accused the group of illegally transporting 2,000 people from Hungary to Austria between spring and autumn 2015.
Dozens of migrants were crammed into small vehicles for hours without fresh air or the possibility of using a bathroom, the prosecution said.
The gang is believed to have made €350,000 ($396,000) from their criminal activities.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees trekking along the Balkan route transited through Austria last year in the hope of reaching Germany and Sweden.
The country stepped up checks for people-smugglers after the bodies of 71 migrants including four children were found in an abandoned truck on a motorway near Vienna in August 2015.