Cyprus Mail

MPs seeking harsher penalties for people smugglers

File photo

The House interior committee appears to favour harsher punishments for people smugglers and their accomplices, chairperson Eleni Mavrou said on Monday.

MPs discussed the proposed changes to the law upgrading people smuggling to a felony from a misdemeanour.

Mavrou said members of the committee will table their positions in the next meeting but “we thin that it is important to protect the international protection system so that those who in real need should benefit and not those who profiteer in their backs.”

She said the committee discussed in-depth the fact that the authorities do not appear to tackle such activities decisively, independent of any law.

The amendments provide for a jail sentence of up to 10 years and or a fine of up to €50,000 for people smugglers.

Disy MP Giorgos Karoullas said Cyprus faced a serious problem with undocumented migration and expressed hope the stricter sentences would act as a deterrent so that “we can shield our demographic composition and prevent any changes Turkey is attempting in our region.”

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