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Belgium: Middle Eastern immigrant people smugglers who put 19 migrants on a rickety boat to cross the Channel arrested

Federal police in Belgium have arrested two migrant men from Iraq and Iran for human trafficking.
The pair of Middle Eastern migrants were arrested by the federal police in West Flanders for attempting to smuggle 19 migrants on a rickety boat across the English Channel to the United Kingdom at the end up last December, the Dutch-language Belgian news outlet Het Laatste Nieuws reports.

Luckily, the group of migrant castaways were rescued by Dutch fisherman near the coast of Dunkirk, France. The smugglers had sent the migrants off to sea in the Belgian coastal city of Nieuwpoort.
 Belgian’s federal judicial police, along with the smuggling team, investigated the incident and eventually gather evidence which lead them to an Iranian who provided boats for transit migrants.

“Together with a man from Iraq he sold boats with indications that they were intended for smuggling activities. Both live in the region of Sint-Niklaas,” attorney Frank Demeester of the Bruges public prosecutor’s office said.

The pair of Middle Eastern migrant smugglers were arrested, but were quickly released.
“The Bruges investigating judge decided on the basis of the elements in the file to arrest both persons. On Friday, the Bruges council chamber decided to release the suspects under certain conditions, but the prosecution immediately appealed so that the suspects remain in prison for the time being.”

The Iranian and Iraqi have been ordered to report to authorities in Ghent within two weeks. Whether that happens or not is anyone’s guess.

Migrants attempting to reach the UK by crossing the English Channel has become increasingly common over the past couple of years. Last year, 2,758 migrants were intercepted while attempting to cross the Channel, four times more than were seen in the previous year.

Voice Of Europe 
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