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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Five police officers accused of facilitating the “smuggling” of migrants for a bribe

By C. R.

The District State Prosecutor’s Office in Maribor filed an indictment against five police officers who lost their jobs in 2020 due to allegations that they illegally allowed foreigners to stay in the Schengen area. The prosecution accuses them of committing the crimes of illegal crossing of the state border, assisting in this act, and accepting bribes as an accomplice.

As the newspaper Večer reported, almost two and a half years ago, investigators of the special department of the specialised state prosecutor’s office arrested five police officers employed by the Maribor police administration, who were suspected of having stamped the passports of citizens of third countries in exchange for bribes, thereby illegally allowed to stay in the Schengen area. Four of them were taken into custody on February 11th, 2020, and were released a month after their arrest, as the court ruled that the suspects were no longer in danger of repeating the act, as they were fired from their jobs shortly after their arrest.

Shortly after the arrest, the prosecutor’s office filed a request for a judicial investigation against the five police officers, and the district court granted it. According to Večer, the decision to initiate the investigation was issued in March 2020, but its implementation was delayed until February this year, also due to measures related to the coronavirus. A month later, the prosecutor’s office filed an indictment against all the dismissed police officers. However, according to the newspaper, since the defendants objected to the charge, it is not yet legally binding.

The fired police officers are accused of being part of an international criminal group that falsely confirmed the crossing of the external Schengen border in the travel documents of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Serbia, who were most likely working illegally in an EU country.

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