NEWS

Immigrant traffickers arrested

The coast guard detained 110 illegal immigrants yesterday on the eastern Aegean island of Farmakonissi and arrested two alleged smugglers, who are also wanted on suspicion of involvement in previous smuggling operations. Dimitris Potamitis and Panayiotis Meraklis, both aged 35, are believed to be responsible for transporting the immigrants on the Corsaro II sailboat that had no flag. The immigrants, who included 11 woman and 26 children, claimed to be from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Sources said that Potamitis was arrested in September 2001, along with four others, for smuggling 86 immigrants to Zakynthos, western Greece. The 110 immigrants will be put up at an recetion center on the neighboring island of Leros. «The immigrants will be housed temporarily at the center and whoever has a health problem will be examined by doctors. There will be special care, as always, for women and children,» a coast guard official said.