Hungary arrests five over refugee deaths, Austrian authorities save intercepted children
A court in the Hungarian city of Kecskemét remanded four men into custody on 28 August who are suspected of having contributed to the deaths of the 71 refugees in a refrigerator truck that was discovered in eastern Austria last week. Agence France-Presse reports that those arrested will remain in custody until 29 September at the request of Hungarian prosecutors.
A fifth suspect was subsequently arrested in Hungary. Justice officials there believe those arrested to date are just "small fish" in a gang of human traffickers.
The bodies of what were probably Syrian refugees were found by Austrian Police last Thursday in a parked truck on the highway between Budapest and Vienna. Those suspected of participating in the tragedy who were arrested in Hungary are described as one Afghan man and three Bulgarians.
The Austrian Press Agency reports that a Bulgarian businessman with Lebanese roots is the owner of the truck and that the Afghan and one of the arrested Bulgarians were drivers. The fifth man detained has also been described as Bulgarian.
It is unclear how long the corpses were in the truck, which previously belonged to the Slovak meat production company Hyza and still bears the logo of that firm. Hungarian authorities say the truck entered Austria from Kecskemét in central Hungary.
The New York Times reported yesterday that three small children had been hospitalized with severe dehydration in northern Austria after being found in another small van with 23 other migrants by police, narrowly averting another fatal tragedy involving Middle Eastern refugees taking their chances with human traffickers. Police found the children around 4 AM Friday after chasing the vehicle near the Austrian-German border, less than 24 hours after the decomposing bodies in the other truck were found.
The paper reports that twin girls, aged five, and a six-year-old boy from Syria were in life-threatening condition and were immediately hospitalized in Braunau, where they have since improved, according to police spokesperson David Furtner. The driver, a 29-year-old Romanian, was arrested.
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Tags:refugee, war, Asylum, Austria, Bulgaria, Human trafficking, Hungary
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