Vietnam has jailed four people over their roles in the death of 39 migrants found in a refrigerated truck in the UK last year, state media said.
The deaths of the 31 men and eight women from Vietnam, who were found in a vehicle near London in October, highlighted the enormous risks of illegal migration to Europe and sparked an international outcry.
The four defendants — the youngest aged 26 and the oldest 36 — were given prison sentences of between two-and-a-half years and seven-and-a-half years by a court in Ha Tinh Province on Monday, the official provincial newspaper reported.
They were found guilty of “organizing, brokering illegal emigration,” it said, adding that three others had been given suspended sentences.
However, Nguyen Dinh Gia, who lost his 20-year-old son, Luong, in the tragedy, told reporters that he believed the defendants should not have been given jail terms.
“The people involved were just trying to help and then the accident happened,” he said, adding that he had not known the trial was taking place. “He was an adult who made his own decision and joined the trip voluntarily with the aim to improve his life, earning money to alleviate our poverty.”
Gia said his son had wanted to travel to the UK from France, where he had been living illegally since 2018.
The journey to the UK, where he aimed to look for work in a nail salon, would have cost him about ￡11,000 (US$14,177).
“It has been almost a year, but whenever I think about this, it’s still painful,” Gia said.
Luong and the majority of the other migrants came from a handful of poor central provinces, hotspots for illegal migration to Europe.
The truck carrying the victims — including two 15-year-old boys — arrived on a ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in the early hours of Oct. 23 last year.
They died from lack of oxygen and overheating, post-mortem examinations found.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
A US$60 double-dose experimental coronavirus vaccine is being made available to some residents in an eastern Chinese city, health officials have said, the first details of a mass rollout for an as yet unproven vaccine. Officials in Jiaxing on Thursday said that residents aged 18 to 59 with “urgent needs” could seek consultations at clinics for a Sinovac Biotech vaccine that authorities have been giving to groups such as medical workers. The statement from Jiaxing’s center for disease control and prevention did not specify what constituted “urgent needs.” Authorities did not say how many people in the city had been given the vaccine,
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
COVID-19 UNDER CONTROL: The two prime ministers agreed to ease entry bans, and allow short-term business visits and reopen flights between Vietnam and Japan Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first overseas summit since taking office last month, yesterday agreed with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to step up defense and security cooperation in the face of China’s expanding influence in the region. In talks in Hanoi, Suga and Phuc set up a basic agreement allowing Japan to export defense equipment and technology to Vietnam. Japan has been pursuing such agreements to bolster ties with Southeast Asian nations and sustain its own defense industry. Suga said that his four-day trip to Vietnam and Indonesia would be key to pursuing the “free and open Indo-Pacific” vision