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Police officer arrested for smuggling irregular migrants from the north (Updated)

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An officer has been suspended after he was caught trying to smuggle irregular migrants from the north to the government-controlled areas last month.

Authorities are investigating the possibility of the officer being involved in a migrant trafficking ring.

The case was confirmed by police spokesman Christos Andreou on Wednesday morning following a report on Politis newspaper.

According to the newspaper article, the suspect was driving from the north to the southern part of the island on September 27, when, six third country nationals were found during a routine check inside his car at the Ayios Dometios crossing point.

A subsequent search revealed the six were irregular migrants who arrived in the non-government-controlled area of Kyrenia from Turkey.

The relevant police department, responsible for investigating corruption offences by members of the force, was immediately informed, Andreou said.

The policeman was eventually arrested on Monday and was remanded for three days the following day. He has been suspended pending the completion of the criminal investigation.

Andreou said the officer is being investigated for offences related to corruption, assisting irregular migrants and conspiracy to commit a felony and misdemeanour.

The involvement of the police in trafficking rings was also reported earlier this year by the children’s rights commissioner Despo Michaelidou during a discussion on the issues emerging from the influx of minor migrants at the House human rights committee.

On March 14, the commissioner had said that rings linked to the migrant flows are also linked to economic interests and have “extensions within the police”. She added that this is happening in the knowledge of the interior ministry while there are lawyers representing such organised exploitation networks.

 

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