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Swedish trucker jailed for transporting immigrants

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12:46 CET+01:00
A court in the Greek town of Komotini on Wednesday sentenced a Swedish truck driver to 14 years and a month in prison for transporting illegal immigrants, a local justice source said.

The unidentified 44-year-old Stockholm resident, who is of Iranian descent, was caught by Greek border guards near the Greek-Turkish frontier last week with 13 Iranians hiding on board his truck, police said.

Around half of the would-be migrants were family relatives of the driver.

The Swede, who was also fined 75,000 euros ($111,000 dollars), will be jailed at Komotini prison until his appeal is heard.

No trial date has yet been set, but the case is expected to be heard by autumn 2008, the justice source said.

Greece lies in the path of a major illegal immigration trail from Asia to Europe and is at pains to stem a growing tide of Asians and African migrants who arrive seeking a better future in Europe.

Illegal migrants caught inside Greece are usually detained for months before being deported, and convicted people-smugglers receive heavy jail sentences.

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