12 August 2004
BRUSSELS – A Belgian court has given a London Underground train driver a one-year suspended sentence for people-trafficking.
Oraze Ozemwigie was convicted after being caught with two illegal immigrants at Charleroi airport in Gosselies.
Suspicions were raised when the two people, one from Liberia and one from Nigeria, were found in possession of false passports. They were attempting to board a Ryanair flight to Dublin.
The connection was made to Ozemwigie when police spotted the tickets used by the men had been booked with his visa card.
Ozemwigie was detained in the town of Jamioulx until his court case in Charleroi.
According to the prosecution, he had four mobile phones and a large sum of cash on him at the time of his arrest.
“In the space of 15 months, he had reserved 12 flights from Charleroi to Stansted for perfect strangers, taking EUR 20 from each person,” argued the deputy public prosecutor.
“What is more, he had several bank accounts across Europe and had already been caught with two illegal immigrants at the German border.
This adds up to a lot of coincidences. It appears evident that Mr Ozemwigie was involved in people smuggling.”
Ozemwigie’s lawyer said his client did not know he was helping illegal immigrants and had previously passed through the airport seven times without any problem.
“Malicious intent cannot be proven,” he argued.
Speaking in English, the presiding judge in the case, Judge Weekers, found the defendant guilty and handed down a suspended one year sentence.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news