A 71-year-old Greek man was found guilty with a mitigating factor by the Dodecanese Criminal Appeals Court for the transport of 47 foreigners in a speedboat which caught fire and sank off Tilos!

In particular, the court accepting the independent claims of the defense attorneys etc. Stavros Skaros and Stelios Alexandris, recognized the mitigating factor of subsequent good behavior on the 71-year-old and imposed a prison sentence of 6 years for each transferred, i.e. a total prison sentence (by merger) of 52 years (suspended for 20 years).

The case was tried in the second instance, as the Single Member Court of Appeal for Dodecanese Crimes in 2016, had judged the 71-year-old guilty and had imposed a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of 30,000 euros for each person transferred, as well as 3 years in prison for resistance, i.e. by merger 103 years in prison, of which he was to serve (based on the legislation in force at the time) 25 years and a total fine of 260,000 euros, with the appeal having no deterrent effect.

Against this decision, the 71-year-old filed an appeal which was examined the day before yesterday, thus managing to reduce his original sentence by almost half.

The incident took place eight years ago and in particular it all started on June 30, 2015 at 7 pm when a polyester speedboat was spotted disembarking a total of 47 irregular immigrants of Syrian origin in the “Agios Sergis” area, located southwest of Tilos.

They were 23 men, 10 women and 14 minor children.

As soon as they were informed about this, two floating vessels of the Coast Guard (one from Rhodes and one from Symi) rushed to the scene and pursued the operator of the high-speed boat, who did not obey the recommendations of the Coast Guard and carried out dangerous maneuvers during which a fire broke out in the vessel!

Even shots in the air for intimidation had to be fired by the port guards who finally managed to stop the speedboat and arrest the 71-year-old Greek for trafficking citizens of third countries.

As it became known, the journey of the foreigners started from the Turkish coast and specifically from Marmaris to end up in Tilos.

Apologizing to the Rhodes investigator, the 71-year-old had denied what was attributed to him and had stated that he sells boats and had recently purchased a yacht from Turkey via the internet. This boat was testing for this and found itself off Tilos when the Coast Guard spotted it.

He had said that the only mistake he made was that he did not stop when the port officials asked him to, but he was afraid because he did not bring all the legal documents.

But under no circumstances had he transported the immigrants and he could not – as he had said – as his boat, which eventually burned and sank, was only 10-11 meters and it was impossible to fit so many people there.

He had also pointed out that the data from the Coast Guard indicated a wooden boat and not a yacht which was his.

The 71-year-old had also invoked the statements of two Syrians who allegedly recognized him from photographs, but without ever being cross-examined.

However, these arguments did not convince the prosecutor and the interrogator who, by agreement, had judged him a temporary prisoner.