Migrant Smuggler Remanded in Custody for One Month

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 3, 2018 – The migrant smuggler from Serbia arrested by Croatian police at Donji Srb on Friday has been remanded in custody in Karlovac for one month.

The 59-year-old man has been remanded in custody because he is a flight risk, because there is a danger that he could repeat the same offence and because of the gravity of the circumstances of the offence, investigating judge Sanda Janković said. Upon the expiry of the decision on custody, the court will discuss its possible extension.

The smuggler has a court-appointed attorney who told reporters that his client had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Asked if she could confirm that the suspect had residence in Niš, southern Serbia, the judge said that at the current stage of the investigation she could not reveal information of that kind.

The smuggler was questioned at the Karlovac County Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday. He is charged with attempted murder and with illegal entry and stay in Croatia. The man is suspected of conspiring with at least two unidentified persons to take over, in exchange for a monetary gain, a group of 30 Iraqi and Afghan nationals for whom he knew that they had entered Croatia illegally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to transport them across Croatia further on to other EU countries.

He took over the migrants at Donji Lapac on May 30 and put them in his van even though he was aware that his vehicle was too small for such a large number of people and that they would be travelling in inhumane conditions.

After ignoring signals from two police patrols to stop the vehicle, the smuggler was stopped in the Donji Srb area near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina when he came across a third police patrol and tried to drive through a roadblock.

Several migrants in the van were injured due to speeding. Among the migrants were 15 children. Two 12-year-olds suffered severe gunshot wounds after the smuggler ignored orders from the police to stop the vehicle. He stopped only after the police opened fire, after which he jumped out of the vehicle and escaped.


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