Two French women on trial in Britain on people smuggling charges
17 October 2007, PORTSMOUTH (AFP) - Two young French women went on trial here Tuesday accused of helping two Chinese men enter Britain illegally by hiding them in the boot of their car.
17 October 2007
PORTSMOUTH (AFP) - Two young French women went on trial here Tuesday accused of helping two Chinese men enter Britain illegally by hiding them in the boot of their car.
Hanane Cherigui, a 27-year-old French-Moroccan, and French-Algerian Samia Bellazouz, 29, are accused of belonging to a people smuggling network helping illegal immigrants enter the country. Both deny the charges.
Several members of their families have travelled to Britain for the trial, which is due to last at least four days.
The two friends, originally from the Seine-Saint-Denis area north of Paris, left for London on a shopping trip on June 2 this year ahead of Hanane's wedding, which was planned for June 23.
They left the port of Caen in northwest France and were stopped by customs officials in Portsmouth, on England's south coast, who found the two Chinese stowaways in the car boot.
Both women said they did not know the men were there, claiming they must have got into the car while they were either buying their tickets or during the crossing.
They have been held in custody at a women's prison in southeast England since their first appearance in court on June 3.
Subject: French news