Two Russian sailors were sentenced by the Court of Appeal of the city of Kalamata in Greece to 395 years in prison for the illegal transportation of illegal migrants, which is equivalent to the slave trade by local law. In addition, the court sentenced the Russians to a fine of more than € 6 million. This was reported to RT at the Russian consulate in Athens.
Anton Karramov and Platon Davydov got sailors on a ship cruising on the Aegean Sea, but did not manage to work out only a few weeks.
According to media reports, sailors in Russia for a long time could not find work and responded to a tempting job announcement in Greece, where they were promised to pay 100 thousand rubles in terms of Russian money. The Russians allegedly did not know that they would have to transport illegal immigrants.
Tourists have turned from illegal immigrants
Meanwhile, several more Russian citizens are awaiting trial in Greek prisons on similar charges. So, according to RT, Alexey Igumnov and Nikita Shatalov got into a similar story, who last summer got mechanics on a yacht that was supposed to ride tourists. The very first voyage ended for the young people with an arrest.
“On September 30, the son wrote from Turkish Bodrum that the next day they would go to sea with passengers,” the mother of one of the sailors Svetlana Igumnova told RT. - On the night of October 2 to 3, their ship fell into a storm. According to his son, the captain and his assistant managed to leave the ship before the onset of a severe storm. Nikita and Alexei were unable to leave the 67 passengers who were in the hold. Among the passengers were children. The yacht was heavily overloaded, and the waves were high. The Georgian tanker, passing nearby, responded to the SOS signal. All who were on the yacht were taken aboard. Nikita and Alexey asked to drop them off in Turkey, but the captain of the tanker decided differently, and the ship docked in the port of Kalamata. There, the guys landed ashore with the rescued passengers, and since no one had visas, everyone was detained by the Greek police. ”
According to the interlocutor, the passengers were not tourists, but illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Turkey and other countries of the Middle East who wanted to get to Italy.
“These illegal immigrants confirmed during interrogation that our guys were not at the helm and none of them were captains, but they were still arrested and now intend to bring them to court,” Igumnova notes.
As told RT organizer of the collection of material assistance to the crew Alyona Basova, the arrested Russian sailors are being held in different cities.
“Eight people in Athens, two in Kos and four more in Kastorion,” says Basova. - We have opened a fundraiser to pay for the services of lawyers, but people do not respond, so we have not been able to raise money yet. “Native guys are depressed and do not know how to help.”
At the Russian consulate in Athens, RT said that 24 Russians were under arrest. Arrested seafarers are provided with lists of lawyers. Consular officers visited them in prisons in December 2019.
“Recently, such cases in Greece have often increased the detention of Russian sailors working under contract on foreign ships,” Russian diplomats say. - Sailors really claim that they were involved in the transportation of migrants fraudulently. Greek courts treat this type of crime uncompromisingly. There were no facts of acquittals. The possibilities of diplomatic missions and consular posts in such situations are limited. ”
Assistance to the arrested sailors is being tried by the Russian Initiative public organization, which held a round table discussion on this issue at the end of December 2019.
“It is worth noting that the main cause of the plight of our compatriots, experts called legal illiteracy, as well as the unwillingness of the Greek side to consider the problems comprehensively,” the organizers of the event said.
Ivan Melnikov, vice president of the Russian division of the international committee for the protection of human rights, told RT that the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Tatyana Moskalkova, had joined the case of Russian sailors arrested in Greece.
“Our appeal is in the work of an authorized person, we are also gathering a working group for operational interaction with departments,” Melnikov noted. - This is necessary to resolve legal and financial issues. The matter is complicated by the fact that the sailors are in different isolation wards, and consular workers do not always have the opportunity to visit all of them regularly. The transfer of medicines and essentials is also becoming a problem. ”
According to the interlocutor, the next court hearings are scheduled for February 19 and 20.
“Cases will be examined in respect of Vytautas Slushkonitsu, Alexey Lyubimov, Ivan Illarionov and Andrei Zhuravlev, who are charged with trafficking in persons and organizing illegal migration,” Melnikov said. - Only for one such migrant under Greek law can you get from 7 to 15 years in prison, and I charge several dozen people for sailors. It is important to organize their defense at trial and to seek recognition of them as victims in this matter. Following this, it will be possible to demand the termination of criminal cases on the basis of the UN Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings. ”