Cyprus Mail

Five suspected people-smugglers ask court for legal aid

Paphos court

Five suspects arrested for smuggling migrants faced the Paphos criminal court on Friday and asked for legal aid.

The court accepted their request and the case was rescheduled for December 17.  The suspects aged 53, 49, 43, 38 and 25, will remain in custody until the next hearing.

After 131 migrants were towed to the port of Latchi in November 20, police spotted a high-speed boat in the area trying to flee and arrested the two men aboard, two Syrian nationals aged 43 and 53. The 38-year-old owner of the boat was also arrested. He was allegedly intending to sell the boat to the two Syrian nationals, one of whom is a resident of Cyprus.

The alleged traffickers told authorities during interrogation that they were going fishing but police did not find any fishing equipment on board. The other two suspects, 49 and 25, were arrested after witness testified against them.

The migrants reported the captain had left the boat before they were found by police at sea and had boarded an inflatable speedboat driven by a second person. They said they paid $2,000 each for the journey.

All the migrants were transferred to Kokkinotrimithia’s reception centre.

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