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Romanian Driver of Migrant Van Gets 2-Year Sentence

  • Reuters

FILE - Austrian police officers control cars arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Aug. 31, 2015.

FILE - Austrian police officers control cars arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Aug. 31, 2015.

A Vienna court on Friday sentenced a Romanian man to two years in jail for human trafficking after he drove dozens of migrants across Austria in August in a van whose doors had been welded shut.

Austrian police rescued 26 migrants from the van, including three young children aged 5 and 6 who were suffering from dehydration and were close to death. The migrants had come from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

A spokeswoman for Vienna's criminal court said the Romanian man, 30, could not appeal his sentence.

The police had stopped his Romanian-registered vehicle after a chase near the Austrian town of St. Peter am Hart on the border with Germany, the preferred destination for many of the hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond.

The incident occurred just two days after Austrian police had found the decomposing bodies of 71 migrants in an abandoned truck on an Austrian highway.

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