Prison sentences for people smugglers

Two men at the heart of a massive people smuggling operation were each sentenced to three years in prison by a Swedish court on Wednesday.

The district court in Malmö also handed out one-year prison sentences to two other men involved in the operation, with yet another accomplice receiving a sentence of one year and three months in prison.

The charges covered seven separate incidents from the past year in which refugees, primarily from Iraq, paid to be smuggled from different parts of Europe through Denmark and over the Öresund Bridge into Sweden.

According to the charges, the refugees paid the smugglers around 10,000 kronor ($1,240) per person.

Two men considered to be the ring leaders — 32-year-old national Iraqi Lakman Saman Nariman and 34-year-old stateless Palestinian Abdalh Zaied —

were sentenced to three years each.

The three other men involved in the operation were also convicted for people smuggling.

The 32-year-old, who resides in Blekinge in southern Sweden, will also be deported from Sweden and is banned from entering the country for ten years, despite having a young daughter living in Sweden.

The two ringleaders have also been ordered to pay a fine of 350,000 kronor, an amount calculated to be the equal to the profits they made from people smuggling.

Altogether, the ruling covers the smuggling of 52 people into Sweden.

The convicted smugglers relied on contacts in France, Belgium, and Denmark who drove the refugees to Denmark, where they then boarded trains which took them across the Öresund Bridge.

Once in Sweden, the smuggling victims were met, placed in cars, and driven to various locations around the country.

In its ruling, the court said the operation entailed “systematically taking advantage of the foreigners’ vulnerable situation”.

The smuggling scheme was uncovered through telephone wiretaps and surveillance of the suspected men following contacts between law enforcement authorities in several European countries.