An appeals court in Greece reduces Somali man’s jail term to 8

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Lesbos — An appeals court in Greece has ordered the release of a Somali immigrant who was sentenced to life in prison for smuggling people.

 

This case has drawn international attention to the harsh punishment laws for border protection in this country that is part of the European Union.

Mohamed Hanad Abdi was sentenced to 142 years in prison in 2021 after being found guilty of taking a boat with dead people from Turkey to Lesbos in Greece in 2020.

However, an appeals court on the island of Lesbos on Monday reduced his prison term to eight years, and the judge ordered his release based on the time he had already spent in prison and his good behavior.

The court was attended by several members of the European Union Parliament, who argued that Mohamed, a 29-year-old father of four, was wrongly sentenced.

“We are all in tears of joy, it was a very difficult day. The national prosecutor took a strong position and wanted the sentence to be maintained,” said Stelios Kouloglou, a member of the European Union Parliament, who led the campaign, and spoke to AP.

“It is a very important decision because many people who are ordinary immigrants are treated as smugglers,” he said.

“Mohamed will be released from prison in a few days after his documents are prepared. Our next step is to advocate for the law to be changed.”

Mohamed told the court that he only took the boat when he left a Turkish smuggler who was smuggling people, and he took over to save the people on board.

Two people drowned in the boat, while 33 were rescued. Many of the survivors supported Mohamed’s claims, according to his lawyers.

AP

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