Sentenced in Iceland for People Smuggling
A Palestinian man, residing in Sweden, has been sentenced to nine months in prison for people smuggling, RÚV reports. Of those, six months are suspended. The sentence was passed in the Reykjanes District Court this morning.
The man was charged with smuggling seven Venezuelan citizens to Iceland in January and February this year. For a while, he was suspected of human trafficking, but was not charged for that. The man has been in police custody since mid-March and has denied having anything to do with the arrival of the people.
RÚV reports having been unable to obtain information regarding where the Venezualans are currently residing.
According to mbl.is, the man was charged with running an organized operation, whereby foreigners were assisted in arriving in Iceland illegally. Police believe his intent was strong and focused.
In the group of seven he has now been sentenced for smuggling are siblings police believe to be the victims of human trafficking and, thus, in a vulnerable position. As indicated above, though, the man was not charged with human trafficking. RÚV quotes Alda Hrönn Jóhannsdóttir, deputy state prosecutor, as saying that “proving that [i.e. his being guilty of human trafficking] turned out to be difficult.”
When interrogated, the man denied charges, while his girlfriend claimed the couple runs a travel agency. The man claimed not to be aware of that.
The people who were smuggled traveled from Karakas, Venezuela, to Madrid, Spain. From there, they flew to Iceland, with a layover in Zürich, Switzerland.