tisdag 18 januari 2011

Kosovo prosecutors charge 7 people over deaths of 15 migrants trying to reach EU

Kosovo prosecutors charge 7 people over deaths of 15 migrants trying to reach EU
Seven ethnic Albanians are believed responsible for causing the death of 15 people while smuggling them into the European Union, a Kosovo prosecutor said in an indictment obtained by The Associated Press Monday.
Prosecutor Besim Kelmendi, who investigates organized crime and war crimes, says the seven acted to earn money "by endangering the life and security of migrants," most of them young parents and their children.
The victims were asked to pay euro3,000 ($4,000) per person or up to euro8,000 ($10,500) for a family trying to reach the EU countries and escape poverty in Kosovo.
The incident highlighted the hardships of living in Kosovo, where over 40 per cent of its 2 million inhabitants are jobless and over a third live in poverty.
The smuggling operation turned tragic when a boat carrying 18 people capsized while crossing the Tisza river between Serbia and Hungary on October 2009. Only three people survived the capsizing of the boat: Blerim Rama, his son Rendi and daughter Erida.
At the time Rama told Kosovo media he had to choose between saving his children or his wife Elvira Jaha who could not swim and drowned in the swollen river. Over the following days Elvira's body was among ten bodies washed out onto the river banks in Serbia where the river flows from Hungary. Four are still missing.
Kelmendi, a Kosovo prosecutor in a special office run by the European Union's rule of law mission, alleges the group ran a network that used connections in Serbia to get migrants into the EU and other European countries.

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