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Archive for the ‘PEOPLE SMUGGLERS’ Category

Forensic police officers inspect the truck parked on an Austrian highway.image

Forensic police officers inspect the truck parked on an Austrian highway. Photo: Reuters

Vienna: The partly decomposing bodies of as many as 50 people assumed to be migrants being smuggled across Europe were found in a truck abandoned on a highway east of Vienna on Thursday.

The precise toll was yet to be determined, said Hans-Peter Doskozil, director of police in the eastern state of Burgenland, during a live news conference on Austria’s public broadcaster

Some of the bodies in the truck had started to decompose, investigators said image

Some of the bodies in the truck had started to decompose, investigators said. Photo: AP

Doskozil said the bodies, some of which had started to decompose, had been discovered when the truck was opened after the police noticed it parked off the highway that links Budapest and Vienna. He declined to give further details.

Doskozil said the Austrian police had contacted the authorities in neighbouring Hungary, where the authorities have accelerated the building of a fence along the border with Serbia, in an effort to block the flow of tens of thousands of migrants who have worked their way up the length of the Balkans in recent weeks.

The border fence has threatened to complicate and even cut off what has become an increasingly accessible route for the migrants, many of whom are fleeing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel-We are all shaken by this terrible news image

German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “We are all shaken by this terrible news.” Photo: Bloomberg

In recent interviews, humanitarian aid workers and the migrants themselves said the fence would not stop the migrants but would force them to find other ways to make it to wealthy European Union countries farther north, often with the help of human traffickers.

The grisly discovery coincided with the start of a conference in Vienna on how to make the Balkans more secure and prosperous, partly as a means to stop the flight of thousands seeking better economic conditions in Austria, Germany and other, more wealthy parts of the European Union.

The conference is being attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and Balkan heads of government.

Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann expressed sorrow over the deaths and said they were a chilling reminder of the need to give shelter to migrants fleeing war.

“We are all shaken by this terrible news that up to 50 people have lost their lives because they got into a situation where smugglers did not care about their lives,” Merkel said.

“Such a tragic death,” she added, emphasising the need for Europe to pull together and ease the current crisis, part of the biggest wave of migrants since World War II.

In his remarks, Faymann said, “This shows once more how necessary it is to save lives and to fight people smugglers.”

“Those who look back to World War II history know that there were people who depended then on asylum” to survive. Today, too, “it saves lives,” he added.

Gerald Tatzgern, who leads an Austrian police team responsible for fighting human trafficking, said police had secured the site where the truck was found. But he said it would take several days for forensics teams to sift through the evidence and, potentially, learn more about the identities of those found dead.

Police are still searching for anyone who might have information about the truck, which had Hungarian licence plates and was found abandoned in an emergency area beside a highway in the Neusiedl am See region, near the Hungarian border.

The Austrian authorities said they were working with the Hungarian police to try to find the driver, who is believed to be from Hungary.

Images in Austrian news media showed a white vehicle, with a rear cooler compartment emblazoned with the word “Hyza” in brown letters, with a chicken standing in for the letter “y”, surrounded by police cars parked at the side of the freeway.

A Slovak-based company by the name of Hyza told the Austrian news agency APA that it had sold more than a dozen of its vehicles in 2014 but had no further knowledge about them.

Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, called it a “dark day,” and urged everyone across the 28-nation European Union to move harshly against human traffickers.

“These are not well-minded helpers,” she said. “They are not concerned with the welfare of the migrants. They care only about profit.”

The discovery of the truck not only threatened to overshadow the conference but also highlighted the continuing divides and dysfunction of the European Union in handling a migration crisis that is straining resources.

Mogherini gave the strongest voice to Europe’s need to act to stop such deaths, “moving from the blame game to real cooperation.”

There is “no magic solution, but the road we can follow to start making things work is very well known,” she said.

“We understand very well that we cannot continue like this – with a moment of silence every time we see someone dying,” she said.

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Henry Sapiecha

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The Opposition says Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has ”some explaining to do” after alleged people smuggler “Captain Emad” fled Australia on Tuesday night. HA-HA said the clown.

Coalition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison said Captain Emad – who was living in Canberra – had “done a runner” on the current labour government’s watch.

Captain Emad left Australia only a day or so after a Four Corners report about his activities aired on Monday evening.

Officials & federal police were slow & powerless to act.

Mr Morrison said Captain Emad would not have been able to flee if he had been placed on a temporary protection visa.

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Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus told reporters in Canberra today that Captain Emadhad not been detained when he left Melbourne, despite an alert going out to authorities.Mr Negus said there was not enough evidence yet to detain him and that he had the right to the democratic presumption of innocence.”Yes, it’s frustrating,” Mr Negus said of the people smuggling case.But he said the federal police would go ahead with the “full force of the law” in investigating Captain Emad.This afternoon, Mr Morrison said Mr Bowen should answer questions about what advice he sought from the Immigration Department around cancelling Captain Emad’s visa.”(Mr Bowen) has some explaining to do,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Perth.


He also said that Mr Bowen should bring forward changes to the Migration Act to allow the minister to suspend or cancel visas: “to ensure someone like Captain Emad wasn’t able to just slip out of the country.”

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has said he had “no tolerance” for people gaining refugee status based on false information and the government will investigate claims that people smugglers are based in Australia.

The AFP Commissioner said police had an idea of where Captain Mead had flown to, but would not reveal the location.

He also said it was highly unlikely that Captain Emad would be arrested overseas.
“There is little likelihood he would be arrested overseas and returned to Australia unless there is more evidence that can be collected prior to that eventuality ,” he said.

Mr Negus said that police had known about the alleged activities of Australian-based people smugglers before they were aired in a Four Corners report on Monday night.

He said the group had been the subject of an investigation for about two years and the investigation was ongoing be it at a snails pace.

Mr Negus said there were a number of suspects and a number of identities in their investigations into the group.

Four Corners reported that people smuggling agents had come to Australia by boat while posing as asylum seekers and had been granted residency.

The program confronted a man known as “Captain Emad” in the northern Canberra suburb of Gungahlin as he worked collecting supermarket trolleys.

He is alleged to have been involved with another Jakarta-based smuggler, Abu Ali Kuwaiti, a chief organiser for a voyage from Indonesia in which 97 people disappeared and are presumed to have drowned.

It is also claimed Captain Emad had been living in taxpayer-funded housing in Canberra while engaged in people smuggling.

Mr Negus said Four Corners had approached the federal police in February about its people smuggling program and that police had provided the ABC with some information about people smugglers.
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He said the federal police did not have “full visibility” of the program but noted that Four Corners had respected some of the “more sensitive elements” of their investigations.

Mr Negus noted that some of the information presented in the Four Corners report did not amount to evidence that was able to be used in a court of law.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has said he had “no tolerance” for people gaining refugee status based on false information and the government will investigate claims that people smugglers are based in Australia.

The federal police said that, since September 2008, 14 alleged organisers have been arrested, including five organisers who have been sentenced to up to seven years’ jail.

Other alleged organisers are before the court. Four alleged Australian-based organisers were arrested in March 2012.

Labor has been ridiculed by the opposition following the Four Corners report, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott calling the government “utterly incompetent” at border protection.

“If the TV station can find [the people  smugglers], why can’t the government & federal police find & stop them?” Mr Abbott asked.

Alleged people smuggler

faces 89 charges

May 17, 2011 – 4:52PM

An Australian man deported from Indonesia has appeared in a Perth court on 89 people-smuggling charges, some of them relating to last year’s Christmas Island boat disaster.

Iranian-born Ali Khorram Heydarkhani was not legally represented and was not required to enter a plea when he appeared in the Magistrates Court today after being flown from Sydney on Friday.

The 40-year-old was arrested at Sydney Airport on Thursday, after being deported from Indonesia, where he had overstayed his visa.

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In court today, Mr Heydarkhani, wearing a black jacket, listened and affirmed that he understood as an interpreter translated the charges read out by magistrate Joe Cicchini.

The 89 counts against Mr Heydarkhani, who has been an Australian citizen since 2003, relate to four boatloads of asylum seekers brought to Australia between June 2010 and January this year.

One of those boats was the SIEV 221, which smashed against rocks and broke apart at Christmas Island on December 15, leading to the deaths of at least 30 people, mostly from Iran and Iraq.

The magistrate remanded Mr Heydarkhani in custody to reappear on June 9 via video link from prison and advised him to get legal representation as soon as possible.

Earlier, a man in the public gallery had approached the magistrate saying Mr Heydarkhani was not legally represented, but a court security officer told him to sit down.

The man did so and draped himself in an Aboriginal flag but was told to remove it or be held in contempt of court.

When he refused, a police prosecutor ordered him to leave and escorted him out, saying the court was “not a political arena”.

The man later told reporters he had met Mr Heydarkhani in the Perth Watch House on Saturday and wanted to help him in court.

Mr Heydarkhani was detained by Indonesian authorities on January 25 and deported for overstaying his visa, precluding the need for Australia to seek his extradition.

West Australian Coroner Alastair Hope is due to begin an inquest into the Christmas Island boat tragedy in Perth tomorrow.

The inquest will examine whether SIEV 221 was being tracked by Commonwealth agencies, and, if not, why it wasn’t under surveillance.

It will also look at the preparedness of government agencies to respond to the situation.

Later this year, a federal parliamentary committee will also examine the tragedy.


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