They were thirty defendants in this vast case of illegal immigration.

On Thursday, the specialized interregional jurisdiction of Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine) sentenced 24 Iraqi smugglers to prison terms.

Justice suspected the 24 men of having helped illegal immigrants to reach England from Brittany for sums of several thousand euros.

Among the 27 convicted, six were absent from the hearing and are the subject of an arrest warrant.

The other 19 were detained for periods ranging from 18 months to seven years.

All were found guilty of "helping to enter and stay in an organized gang", of "laundering in an organized gang" but not of "trafficking in human beings in an organized gang" as hoped by the prosecution.

Twenty-four permanent bans from French territory were also pronounced against the convicted persons, specifies the public prosecutor of Rennes.

The investigation started in the summer of 2018 with the arrest of a man who was loading migrants into a truck bound for Great Britain on the Sarthe Sarge Le Mans motorway rest area.

From each migrant, the smugglers asked between 6,000 and 13,000 euros to take them to the Channel Islands located off the coast of Brittany.

Migrants were sometimes transported in refrigerated trucks and brought "in 14, standing, in the back of the vans that brought them to the rest areas".

Conditions "obviously contrary to human dignity", explained the prosecutor.

Significant tensions had arisen around the rest areas, even leading to the murder of one of the leaders of a network of smugglers.

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  • Pays de la Loire

  • England

  • Immigration

  • Iraq

  • Illegal immigration

  • Justice

  • smugglers

  • Brittany

  • Society

  • reindeer

  • Le Mans

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