Syrian Jailed for 52 Years After Trial for Piloting Illegal Migrant Boat, Causing Shipwreck

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A Syrian man has received a lengthy sentence after being tried for entering Greece illegally, facilitating the illegal entry of other migrants, and provoking a shipwreck.

Accused of endangering the lives of fellow migrants as well as the lives of Greek officials, the Syrian named only as ‘KS’ was cleared of the shipwreck charges but convicted of the illegal entry and people-smuggling charges, with the authorities having chared him with piloting a boat packed with as many as 40 illegal aliens. A court in Mytiline, Lesbos handed him a 52-year sentence.

KS embarked on his voyage in March 2020, according to the left-wing Independent — around the time the Islamist president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “opened the gates” for migrants living in his country to flood into the European Union via the Turkish border with Greece, in order to pressure the bloc, with some success, to give in to various demands for money and so on.

The Greeks accused the Turks of bombarding their border guards with tear gas and ripping down sections of border fence with EU-funded armoured vehicles in order to facilitate crossings, as well as bussing migrants, some freed from prison, direct to the frontier. German intelligence later suggested that the Turks had instigated the violence at the border by planting agents provocateurs among the migrants.

The crisis died down as the Chinese coronavirus pandemic began in earnest, prompting Erdogan to put a stop to mass movements in and around the land border, but the Greeks say they are still undermining the border to this day — using patrol boats to try and escort vessels carrying illegal migrants into Greek waters, for example.

The Independent adopted a critical tone in its reportage of convicted migrant trafficker KS’s sentencing, citing activists who claimed he “will be sitting in prison for nothing… for just fleeing Turkey and fleeing Syria”.

KS reportedly spent some time behind bars in Turkey for refusing to deploy to Libya, the North African failed state where the Turkish government has been deploying Syrian mercenaries to prop up the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) — an increasingly inaccurate title, as the territory it controls has shrunk to mainly just Tripoli part of the north-west.

Reports have described some of the Turkey-backed militants as having been “affiliated with groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State” in Syria, although information on KS’s background beyond his claims to be a simple family man who was merely a passenger on a migrant boat has not been covered by the press.

The Greek approach to tackling illegal boat migration is markedly more robust than that which has been adopted by British prime minister Boris Johnson’s government in the English Channel, which has managed vanishingly few deportations and delivered only a few short sentences for people-smugglers, limited developments which have been followed with ever-rising numbers of arrivals.

Breitbart London has contacted the Hellenic Police for comment on KS and its approach to tackling illegal border crossings more generally.

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