Cyprus Mail

Suspected people smugglers remanded in custody

Migrants being brought to Latchi last year

Two Syrian men suspected of smuggling 92 illegal immigrants into Cyprus in a fishing boat were on Thursday remanded in custody for eight days by a Paphos court.

The pair were held in relation with conspiracy to commit a crime, assisting illegal immigrants, and transporting persons in an unsafe and overloaded vessel.

In addition to the two Syrian nationals, aged 41 and 25, nine were arrested for entering Cyprus illegally. The nine had been in Cyprus before and their names had been on the stop list.

They were remanded for four days on Thursday and are expected to reappear before a court on Monday.

On board the boat were 28 men, 18 women, and 46 children, 91 of whom Syrians and one Palestinian.

They arrived on the island at around 2pm following a rescue operation amid rough seas.

The boat is believed to have sailed from Mersin, Turkey.

The remainder of the migrants were initially taken to the Polis hospital for medical checks after government officials registered their identification papers.

On Thursday, 71 were taken to the reception centre in Kokkinotrimitia while two, a mother with her child, are still in hospital for observation.

Eight children, six of whom are unaccompanied, are being looked after elsewhere by the social welfare services.

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