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Somali sentenced to life in Greece for trafficking wins appeal

Somali sentenced to life in Greece for trafficking wins appeal
Mohamad Hanad Abdi of Somalia, left, arrives at a court in Mytilene,   -  
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Panagiotis Balaskas/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


The criminal court of the Greek island of Lesbos announced Monday during an appeal procedure the release within a month of a Somali, sentenced in 2021 to 142 years in prison for migrant smuggling.

Mohammad Hanad Abdi , 29-year-old Somali, who fled his country pursued by the terrorist group Al-Shabab , was sentenced in May 2021 to 142 years in prison , including 20 years in prison for illegal transport of migrants with aggravating circumstances since two women drowned during a journey at sea.

In Greek law (4251- article 30), dating from 2014, any migrant accused of driving a refugee boat faces a minimum sentence of ten years in prison , even if it is proven that he is not a smuggler. and that he was not paid to make the crossing.

The law also provides for 15 years' imprisonment for anyone who dies during the trip, and eight years for each passenger transported.

On December 1, 2020, Mohammad Hanad Abdi boarded a boat with 33 other people. After 20 minutes, the engine had stopped. Before abandoning them, the smuggler pointed a gun at Mohammad, ordering him in Turkish to guide the boat.

On Monday, the court significantly reduced his sentence to eight years in prison. Due to his "good behavior" , "nearly a year and a half of general work carried out" and the fact that he has already served two and a half years in prison, he will be released within a month, explains one of his lawyers, Alexandros Giorgoulis .

Last month, two Afghans, Akif Razouli and Amir Zahiri , who had been sentenced to 50 years in prison, were released on appeal in a similar case.

Stelios Kouloglou , Greek left-wing MEP, present at the hearing, said that "we must continue to mobilize on this issue. Thousands of other migrants currently in Greek prisons accused of being smugglers are sentenced to wrong" .

This is according to the MEP, who has launched an information campaign with his colleagues in the European Parliament, "the second most important category of prisoners in Greece" .

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