They threatened to burn them with an iron – The action of traffickers who jailed and tortured immigrants is shocking


The victims did not appear to testify at the trial, but statements they had given to police were read.

Two young Afghan men are lying on the floor. They scream and try in every way to avoid a smuggler who, holding a heated electric iron in his hand, threatens to burn them.

This chilling scene was recorded by another trafficker with his mobile phone and the shocking video – which saw the light of day last April – was allegedly sent, via a social networking platform, to a relative. The traffickers’ message is clear: pay money to set them free.

The two young men are finally freed after an operation by police officers of the Thessaloniki Organized Crime Sub-Directorate in Parapigma, in the area of ​​Dendropotamos, where they were kept prisoners. 13 Pakistanis were eventually arrested for the case, accused of being members of a criminal group of migrant traffickers, while the indictment included 10 other of their compatriots.

A year and a half after the police operation, the Three-member Court of Criminal Appeal of Thessaloniki tried the case today, imposing on 14 of them total prison terms of 19 to 141 years (with 20 years suspended), depending on the case and the degree of participation of each gang action.

The verdict of the Court was acquittal for five defendants, while for the others the case was not introduced as it was not possible to arrest them.

Those convicted were found guilty, on a case-by-case basis, of transporting dozens of migrants from Turkey to Greece (via the Evros), kidnapping, attempted extortion and grievous bodily harm. Along with the prison sentences, the Court imposed fines from 110,000 to 620,000 euros (as the case may be, for eight of the convicted).

The prosecutorial authorities of Thessaloniki have been investigating since March 2021 the illegal activity of the criminal group, which seems to have been operating on Greek soil, but also having international connections. The case file referred to at least ten illegal movements of migrants, for a fee, from the Greek-Turkish border to the interior of the Greek territory, but also to the border with North Macedonia, through the prefecture of Kilkis.

The odyssey of the traffickers

The victims did not appear to testify at the trial, but statements they had given to police were read. Characteristic were the words of the two young Afghans (17 and 20 years old respectively) – victims of torture. Their destination, as they reported, was Central Europe, where their relatives live. By paying sums of money to traffickers, they managed to pass from their homeland to Iran and from there to Turkey. Crossing the Evros River by boat, they crossed, as they testified, into Greece, where they were picked up by other traffickers and transported by road from Xanthi to Thessaloniki, to be taken to places where they were held and tortured until the ransom was paid.

All the defendants denied their involvement in the case in their apologies. Their lawyers questioned the video and the purpose, which according to the case file, it served, namely to pressure the relatives of the victims to transfer money in order to release them.


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