Hungarian police took into custody late Saturday a man with Bulgarian citizenship in connection with the deaths of 71 migrants left in a truck on the side of a motorway in Austria last week. The man was taken into custody on suspicion of human trafficking, the police said on Sunday, without revealing where he was found. The man is the fifth suspect taken into custody in the case. On Saturday, a Hungarian court in Kecskemét ordered the preliminary detention of three Bulgarians and one Afghan citizen in connection with the deaths.
The four were arrested near the Serbian border on Thursday, after the truck with the 71 bodies was discovered. The court ordered the preliminary detention for one month, the head of the Kecskemét court Ferenc Bicskei said. The suspects have allegedly carried out human trafficking as an organised criminal activity, by coercion, for financial gain, he added. Spokesman of the court Szabolcs Sárközy said criminals found guilty of human trafficking may be sentenced to 2 to 8 years in prison but if it their conduct is an organised criminal activity, the sentence is between 2 and 16 years, he said. The suspects said they would appeal the decision on preliminary detention and denied committing a crime, he added.
Police also caught drivers of three vehicles suspected of human trafficking, including a Lithuanian driving a vehicle with Lithuanian number plates carrying twelve Syrians in the country illegally. The police later took into custody an Austrian driver in a vehicle with Austrian number plates carrying five Syrian passengers in the country illegally as well as a Polish driver in a vehicle with French number plates carrying seven Syrians in the country illegally.
The drivers, all stopped on the M1 motorway, had been paid to take their passengers to Germany illegally. Hungarian police also took into custody four Romanians driving a truck carrying 21 migrants in the country illegally. The police stopped a car, with Bulgarian number plates, leading a truck on the M5 motorway, near Hungary’s border with Serbia. Ten Syrians and eleven Afghans, all in the country illegally, were found in the truck. A criminal procedure has been launched against the Romanians on suspicion of human trafficking.
Meanwhile migrants at Budapest’s Keleti railway station held a demonstration on Sunday morning, public news channel M1 reported. The migrants chanted in English, “Germany, Germany”, their destination of choice and they also gave the thumbs up sign when they said Germany but showed thumbs down at the mention of Hungary. The migrants complained that they had valid tickets for trains to Germany, but are not being allowed further by the Hungarian police and they also objected to their identities being recorded by the authorities and said the one meal a day they get is insufficient.
The Ministry of Interior ministry told news agency MTI that, in line with current EU regulations, asylum-seekers can travel from Hungary to Germany only if they have travel documents and a valid visa. The residence permit issued for the period of processing the asylum request is only valid for Hungary and does not entitle the holder to travel to other EU states, it added. The immigration office can issue this residence permit only after the authorities register the asylum-seeker’s application at a designated reception centre, the ministry said.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photo: Zoltán Máthé – MTI