Cyprus Mail

Remand for suspected people smuggler after 46 migrants picked up (Updated)

File photo: the camp in Kokkinotrimithia

The Nicosia District court on Thursday remanded for eight days, a Turkish man arrested in connection with bringing 46 Syrian immigrants into the republic on Wednesday evening.

They were picked up on the Akaki to Avlona road at 9.30pm and later taken to the reception centre at Kokkinotrimithia.

The arrivals are all men from Syria except six minors.

The arrested man, aged 20, who was with them tried to flee to the north as soon as he spotted police officers, police said.

When he was stopped and searched a knife was found in his possession, they said.

He is suspected of being a member of a gang smuggling Syrians migrants to the republic from Turkey’s Mersin via the north and the buffer zone.

The court heard in the morning that 29 migrants arrived in Akaki on April 10 and 40 just one day later, all of them Syrian men.

They confirmed they arrived from Mersin and paid around $4,000 to $5,000 for the journey.

According to the investigator, lately around 250 people arrived from Syria, describing it as “a scourge that has plagued Cyprus and Europe over the last few years.”

He reported that the description given by some of the migrants of those who helped them get to Cyprus match the appearance of the suspect who attempted to flee on Wednesday.

The suspect reportedly admitted that he has helped migrants to cross, together with two Turkish Cypriots.

The investigator of the case said that the migrants will give statements facilitated by an interpreter, a time-consuming process, which is why he asked for a remand of eight days.


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