Iraqi held after police bust migrant ‘prison’

An Iraqi national believed to be a key member of a people-smuggling ring that has brought dozens of illegal immigrants into Greece was arrested yesterday after officers rescued 45 undernourished migrants from a building in Aegaleo, western Athens. According to police, the would-be migrants – from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia – bore signs of physical abuse and were exhausted. Officers confiscated several lengths of cabling with which the migrants reportedly had been tied up. The Iraqi suspect is believed to have been keeping the migrants hostage, waiting for their relatives to provide the 7,000-euro fee for their transfer to Greece. Officers, who are seeking another three suspected ring members, believe the building in Aegaleo operated as a halfway house for newly arrived illegal immigrants.