CYPRUS: Palestinian gets six months for attempted people trafficking

A Palestinian national was sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of two counts of attempting to the facilitate the illegal entry of two men at the Pergamos boundary on January 31.

The man, Mohammed Aljaro, who lives in Paphos, was attempting to cross over the British Bases Customs-manned crossing point at 1am in the morning when he was stopped as part of the officer’s routine checks.

During that time, Bases customs officials noticed two men attempting to cross over on foot on the opposite side of the road, without going through the correct process.

According to Customs officials, the two men were immediately stopped and questioned about why they had attempted to cross without going through legal procedures.

During that process, the two men admitted the driver of the vehicle had taken them from the Turkish controlled areas and left them close to the crossing point.

It was agreed, they said, that once entry had been gained into the SBAs, they would be picked up once more and taken into the Republic of Cyprus after paying him a fee.

At this point all three men were arrested by customs officers and were handed over to the British Bases Police to continue the investigation.

Speaking after the court ruling, Temporary Superintendent, Andreas Pitsillides, said this was an important arrest and conviction and highlighted both the police’s and SBA Customs commitment to prevent any illegal entry into the SBAs and subsequently, the Republic of Cyprus.

He said: Both the SBA Police and our partners in SBA Customs take the security at the crossing point in Pergamos and Ayios Nikolaos extremely seriously and we are constantly carrying out regular patrols in those areas to ensure that illegal entry cannot be gained.

This was an important arrest, made initially by SBA Customs, because it sends out a very strong message to the facilitators of this crime that it doesn’t matter when you attempt to commit this offence � this was in the very early hours of the morning � you will be stopped and when caught, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Source: The Financial Mirror