French investigative judges have ordered the trial of 19 suspects, aged between 21 and 58, related to the case of 39 Vietnamese who died in a shipping container in 2019.
Sources familiar with the matter revealed on May 24 that a cross-border investigation had shown that 19 suspects, including people of Vietnamese, French, Chinese, Algerian and Moroccan descent, were part of a network smuggling people from Vietnam to Europe. French investigative judges on May 23 ordered the trial of 19 suspects, it is unclear when the trial will be conducted.
The group of suspects is accused of organizing the illegal migration of migrants or owning apartments that hide these migrants in the Paris area. Wanted, the group of suspects referred to the victims as “commodities” or even “chickens”.
Functional forces remove containers containing the bodies of 39 Vietnamese from an industrial park in Essex county, England, in October 2019. Photo: PA
All suspects will be tried on charges of facilitating the illegal entry and stay of foreigners in French territory, as well as connecting to commit crimes. Suspects face up to 10 years in prison. Four of them were also tried for manslaughter, when the safety of the victims was not guaranteed. This crime can carry up to three years in prison.
The bodies of 39 Vietnamese men were discovered in a container truck at Waterglade industrial park, Essex county, England, on the morning of 23 October 2019. Investigation results showed that they were previously loaded into a car in northern France and paid smugglers €20,000 (over $23,000) to cross the border from France to the UK.
The container carrying them was transferred by ferry from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to the port of Purfleet in England overnight. The victims then died from lack of oxygen and overheating in the enclosed space.
Last year, a Belgian court sentenced a Vietnamese man to 15 years in prison for leading a human trafficking ring. The UK in 2021 sentenced 4 people to 13-27 years in prison for involvement in a human trafficking conspiracy that led to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese.
Ngoc Anh (according to AFP)