NEWS

Police eye illegal migrants

At least 60,000 illegal immigrants trying to slip into mainland Greece are expected to be detained by year’s end, according to Public Order Ministry data seen by Kathimerini. From the start of 2006 until August, police caught 48,010 people who did not have the right travel documents. Just over 10,000 of them were sent back to their countries. Deportation procedures for the rest of them have begun, a ministry source said. «They manage to delay their deportation using a variety of techniques. Some even manage to obtain a residency permit,» the source added, without giving further details. In 2005, 66,351 illegal immigrants were detected trying to enter the borders. In one of the most violent cases of people smuggling, police yesterday arrested six people in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, accused of torturing 87 illegal immigrants they held captive in a warehouse without food or water. The illegal immigrants, mostly from Asian countries, had been smuggled into Greece from Turkey and kept as prisoners until they paid a fee, ranging from 3,000 to 10,500 euros, for their transportation. In an effort to force the captives’ relatives to pay the fee, the smugglers would beat the immigrants, deny them food and water, and keep them in what authorities described as atrocious conditions. Meanwhile leaders from eight countries, including Greece, are expected to take part in a meeting in Madrid today to discuss ways to stem the flow of illegal immigrants through EU borders, according to AFP. France’s Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to call for a European-wide ban on mass amnesties for all illegal immigrants.