Greek court sentences human trafficking ring leader to 1,489 years in jail

A 54-year-old Greek national was sentenced to 1,489 years in jail by a Thessaloniki court on Monday for running a human trafficking ring that helped hundreds of foreigners cross into Greece from Evros River on the borders with Turkey; he will only have to serve a maximum of 25 years.

The Criminal Appeals Court of Thessaloniki also sentenced another 22 individuals, imposing sentences from 200 to 300 years each for compounded crimes.

The court file includes evidence for 46 cases of human trafficking from 2015 to 2016, mostly concerning refugees from Iraq and Syria who crossed Evros on boats and headed for Thessaloniki in secret truck compartments.

Once on Greek territory, the migrants spent some days at sheep farms around Thessaloniki and would then be helped to taxis and taken to police departments for registration. The taxis would subsequently transport them to the town of Idomeni, on the borders with FYROM, from where they headed for Central Europe.

The sentenced individuals were led to jail immediately after the sentencing.