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People smuggler gets 1,489 years in prison for trafficking Syrians, Iraqis to Greece

People smuggler gets 1,489 years in prison for trafficking Syrians, Iraqis to Greece
A smuggler in has been sentenced to 1,489 years in prison for bringing Iraqi and Syrian refugees into Greece from Turkey. He is one of 23 people sentenced for smuggling on Monday.

The Thessaloniki court found the 54-year-old Greek man guilty of running a smuggling ring that saw hundreds of refugees trafficked into Europe from Turkey between 2015 and 2016, iefimerida reports.

Despite the more than 1,000-year sentence, Greek law states that the maximum prison term that can be served is 25 years. Many of the other sentences handed out were for between 200 and 300 years, EleftherosTypos reports.

The smugglers were rounded up as part of a July 2016 police operation. The indictment includes 46 cases of trafficking migrants, largely Iraqis and Syrians. The refugees paid the traffickers to bring them from parts of the Evros river, which they crossed by boat before being brought to Thessaloniki in trucks with special hiding places.

Once they made it to Thessaloniki, they would wait in fields before being taken by taxi to the police station to be registered, Seleo reports. Once they had been registered, they were taken to Edonmei and onwards to Central Europe.

A further 23 people were acquitted. They were largely taxi drivers. One of the taxi drivers was convicted, as he was found to have played a significant role in the operation.

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