Human Smuggling in Bulgaria Is Punishable by Ridiculous Fines - Foreign MinisterCrime | August 29, 2015, Saturday // 12:17| views
Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, photo by BGNES
Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov has argued that Bulgarian legislation must be amended so as to include harsh penalties for human smuggling instead of the current fine of BGN 1000 – 8000.
In a Saturday interview for Nova TV, Mitov made clear that Penal Code amendments envisaging much harsher penalties for human smuggling had passed first reading in Parliament on Friday.
He specified that the amended provisions envisaged a penalty of up to three years of imprisonment accompanied by confiscation of property, should a public official be identified as an accomplice in the scheme.
He said that the three Bulgarians arrested in Hungary over the death of 71 refugees in a truck had been part of an international human smuggling ring whose route did not cross Bulgarian territory.
Mitov suggested that human smuggling networks had become an immensely profitable business which jeopardized the lives and fates of thousands of people.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister insisted that the human smuggling networks had spread all across Europe and the nationality of the perpetrators was of no importance whatsoever.
He noted that the human smuggling rings had concrete people in charge of every element of the logistics.
Mitov emphasized that although the problem had been discussed on an EU level, it was high time to tighten penalties and measures against human smuggling.
On Friday, Hungarian police confirmed that three Bulgarian nationals and an Afghan citizen had been arrested over the tragedy of the 71 dead bodies of refugees discovered in a truck abandoned on a motorway in Austria.
The victims, including 59 were men, 8 women and 4 children, suffocated to death in the refrigerated vehicle.
Hans Peter Doskozil, police director of Austria's Burgenland region, said that the arrested were members of a Bulgarian-Hungarian human-trafficking gang.
One of the arrested Bulgarians is believed to be the owner of the truck where the dead bodies were discovered.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the information about the arrests on Friday.
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