Syrian smugglers convicted over death of refugees by German court

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-11 21:26:06|Editor: ying
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BERLIN, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- A Bavarian regional court in Traunstein convicted three Syrian nationals on Friday 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 September 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 have arrived in Germany since 2015.