Women found on Mt Athos

Four female illegal immigrants were detained in northern Greece’s Mount Athos, where women have been forbidden from entering for the last 1,000 years, after being dropped off there by smugglers, police said yesterday. The women and a man, all from Moldova, were spotted by monks after reaching the area in a speedboat from Turkey. The immigrants, aged between 27 and 41, said they had crossed over into Greece from the Turkish coast and did not realize they had been left on the monastic peninsula. They told police they each paid 4,000 euros to two Ukrainian smugglers for the transfer from the Turkish port of Canakkale. Authorities were combing the area yesterday searching for more illegal immigrants who may have reached the peninsula. Woman are prohibited from entering Mount Athos, a monastic community dating back to 10th century. The ban is upheld by Greece’s Constitution and violations are punishable by up to a year in prison.