Six sentenced to prison for human smuggling

A Swedish court on Thursday sentenced six men to up to three years behind bars for illegally smuggling people from countries including Iran and Iraq into Europe, media reported.

Fourteen people in all were arrested in February 2007 suspected of human trafficking to Sweden, but the case that wrapped up on Thursday concerned only half the group, while the remaining seven will go on trial in September, Sveriges Radio reported.

The court in the southwestern city of Gothenburg handed two of the men sentences of three years in prison for organizing human trafficking and aggravated forgery.

One man meanwhile received a two-year term and three others received terms of between four and 10 months for planning aggravated forgery, while the last man in the group was released.

The men, whose names and nationalities were not given, were part of an international trafficking network and had helped smuggle a number of people, mainly Iraqi asylum seekers, into Gothenburg, the TT news agency reported.

In return, they had demanded payments of between 60,000 and 100,000 kronor ($10,000-17,000), it added.

The defendants argued they had only helped family members and friends come to Sweden for humanitarian reasons and had committed no crime.

During their investigation, police had found a mobile forgery workshop where very high-quality passports and other identification documents had been made, TT reported.

Head of the regional border police, Hans Lippens, meanwhile told Sveriges Radio that halting this one group of human traffickers would not make much difference.

“There are about 30 organizations, 18 of which are present in Sweden. We receive information and tips every day about people being smuggled here and from people who want to tell us how they’ve been smuggled here and cheated out of money,” he said.