At the French trial over the 39 dead Vietnamese migrants found in a refrigerated truck in the United Kingdom, the Public Prosecution Service in Paris on Tuesday demanded prison sentences of up to ten years, fines and permanent bans from entering the territory for four Vietnamese men on trial for involuntary manslaughter .
‘Tony’, ‘Hoang’, ‘Long’ and ‘Thang’ only saw the victims as chickens to be stacked, prosecutor Alexis Liberge argued. They are indirectly responsible for the migrants’ deaths by contributing to a cross-Channel transport system that is unsuitable for humans, prosecutor Sarah Kahla said.
On October 23, 2019, 39 lifeless bodies were discovered in a refrigerated van in Grays, a town in the southern English county of Essex. The truck had left Zeebrugge for England the evening before. It involved 31 men and 8 women from Vietnam, between 15 and 44 years old. They had each paid more than €10,000 to be brought to the UK.
Before the crossing, the victims stayed in safehouses in Paris and Anderlecht, from where they were taken to Bierne in Northern France and put in a container.
Legal proceedings have already been conducted in this case in the United Kingdom, Vietnam and Belgium. In our country, the leader of the gang was sentenced to ten years in prison. Four taxi drivers who transported the transmigrants were also convicted before the appeal court in Ghent.
In total, there are nineteen defendants at the trial in Paris, which ends on Friday: they are all on trial for helping a foreigner in a gang to enter, circulate and reside in France irregularly, as well as for membership of a criminal organization.
For the four other Vietnamese suspects, two of whom are considered fugitives, the Public Prosecution Service demanded prison sentences of up to ten years, fines and a ban on entering the territory. For the other suspects – of French, Algerian, Moroccan and Chinese nationality – prosecutors asked for an acquittal on membership of a criminal organization, but a conviction for aiding a foreigner in a gang to irregularly enter France. to come, circulate and stay there.
Illegal migration network
According to the Public Prosecution Service, the eight taxi drivers were key players in a network whose scope and consequences went beyond their control. According to the prosecutors, a distinction must be made between taxi drivers who made one trip or two trips and those who made multiple trips. The penalties demanded by the Public Prosecution Service include prison sentences of three years and fines of 10,000 euros.
The Public Prosecution Service recalled the fact that without homeowners there could be no illegal migrant network. A suspended prison sentence of eighteen months and fines of 10,000 euros were demanded for three apartment owners.