By: J.S., STA
Two Italians who crashed their car packed with illegal migrants into a police car in September last year have been sentenced to more than two years in prison, after which they will be expelled from the country.
The newspapers Delo, Dnevnik and Slovenske Novice report that Francesco Mandielo, 29, and Salvatore Mascolo, 23, both from Naples, were sentenced to two years and nine months and two years and one month, respectively, by the Ljubljana District Court.
They were both also given a fine of two thousand euro and a ban on re-entering the country for four years as judge Martin Jančar meted out the sentence as proposed by the prosecution, which was the mildest possible and took into account mitigating circumstances.
“The court accepts the defence counsel’s argument that the defendants are the smallest wheels in the machinery of organised illegal migration, but it’s these small wheels that allow the whole wheelwork to run,” the judge was quoted as saying by Dnevnik. He said economic distress did not justify crime.
The pair pleaded guilty, asking for mercy. Their lawyers argued that the pair were but the final link in the chain of a criminal ring smuggling migrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Italy.
The pair picked up six migrants – five from Bangladesh and one from Pakistan – on the Slovenian-Croatian border, putting four of them on the back seats and two in the boot.
A police patrol tried to pull them over near Ivančna Gorica, but Mandielo, attempting to avoid the police first scraped the car against the guard rail on the exit from the motorway, and then after several sharp manoeuvres bumped into the police vehicle behind.
The impact left the police officers inside lightly injured.
According to the reports, the migrants paid EUR 4,000 each to be transported from Velika Kladuša in Bosnia-Herzegovina to Italy to the organiser, allegedly a Pakistani.