Iranian Military Veteran Gets Short Sentence for Piloting Illegal Migrants Across Channel


Iranian military veteran Fariboz Rakei has received a short prison sentence for leading a boatload of migrants, including a seven-year-old child, on a perilous journey across the English Channel.

The 49-year-old is one of ten people who have been convicted for offences related to people-smuggling migrants in the Channel so far this year, and has received the longest sentence yet — of just four-and-a-half years.

This is despite the fact he is a so-called “boomerang migrant”, having already been deported from Britain to Germany as recently as 2019 following a previous illegal channel crossing, according to KentOnline.

Criminals in Britain who receive non-“life” sentences are almost always automatically released early on licence halfway or, more rarely, two-thirds of the way through their terms, too, so the headline figure of four-and-a-half years is not likely to reflect the amount of time he Rakei will actually serve in prison.

“Steering a vessel like this, for any duration of its journey across the Channel, is a criminal offence that puts lives in danger,” commented the so-called Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney, who has presided over an increase in illegal boat migrants landings since his job was created.

“It is all the worse, when one of those lives is only seven-years-old,” he stressed, pointing out that such voyages “are only possible if someone is willing to pilot the vessel and we want to deter people from taking the helm.”

“That is why we will continue to pursue those who do so and ensure that their reckless actions have serious consequences,” O’Mahoney added, as if Rakei’s four-and-a-half term was such a “serious consequence”.

“We are working day and night with French counterparts, including through improved intelligence sharing and increased patrols in northern France, to stop these crossings,” claimed Chris Philp, the government minister responsible for immigration compliance at the Priti Patel-led Home Office.

“As this case shows, we are also going after the people involved in facilitating this criminal trade,” he continued, glossing over the shortness of the Iranian’s sentence.

“People-smugglers are endangering life. These crossings are not only illegal, but also unnecessary, as France is a safe country with a well-functioning asylum system,” he added.

“Furthermore, we are changing our asylum system to make it fair to those who play by the rules, but firm on those who seek to abuse it,” he claimed, years after the crisis in the Channel was first declared a “major incident”.

So far this year, Boris Johnson’s government has failed to deport a single illegal boat migrant, despite repeated promises that robust action would finally be taken with the end of the EU “transition” period at the beginning of 2021.

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