This case relates to two attempts to smuggle one Afghan migrant, who was the brother of one of the co-accused and the friend of the other, from Italy into Austria. The first accused first brought his brother illegally into Austria, but was later intercepted by Austrian authorities in Innsbruck. The brother was then returned to Italy and on the following day, the first accused with the assistance of the second accused smuggled the brother back into Austria, where they were caught on 17 April 2009. Police alleged that the second accused, who held an Austrian refugee passport, used that passport to facilitate the illegal entry of the smuggled migrant. The two accused were later convicted on charges relating to smuggling of migrants. In 2010, the second accused sought to renew his refugee passport but Austrian authorities refused his application. He unsuccessfully appealed against that decision.
The two accused acted to help their brother/friend and did not seek to gain a material benefit from their smuggling activity.
Landesgericht (Regional Court)
The two accused were convicted in this trial.
Verwaltungsgerichtshof (VwGH) (Administrative Court)
Accused #2 appeal against a decision by the police directorate in Linz, refusing the renewal of the accused's refugee passport.
The court rejected the appeal. It confirmed the justification by the police directorate, that the accused became involved in the smuggling venture although he knew that his co-accused had previously smuggled his brother into Austria.
The smuggled migrant was the brother of accused #1 and a friend of accused #2.
The second accused was granted refugee status on 13 November 2007 and was issued an Austrian refugee passport on 31 January 2008. In 2010, the second accused's refugee passport was due for renewal, but Austrian authorities refused the renewal because of his migrant smuggling conviction. He later unsuccessfully appealed against that refusal.
This accused was the brother of smuggled migrant who was involved in both attempts to bring his brother from Italy to Austria. On the second occasion, he asked the other accused to travel to and from Italy with him, because he was lacking sleep and the two could take turns in driving the car back to Austria.
The second co-accused was a friend of the smuggled migrant and his brother. He was asked by the first accused to assist in the second attempt to smuggle the brother from Italy into Austria by taking turns in driving the car to and from Italy.
Police also allege that the second accused used his Austrian refugee passport to facilitate the illegal entry of the smuggled migrant into Austria.
2010/21/0345 (Verwaltungsgerichtshof, 5 July 2012)
This entry was copied from The Migrant Smuggling Case Database, launched by the University of Queensland Migrant Smuggling Working Group in August 2013.
The case is significant because Austrian authorities, later confirmed by the Administrative Court [Verwaltungsgerichtshof], refused the renewal of accused #2's refugee passport after that man had been convicted on charges relating to migrant smuggling. The decision raises questions whether a conviction for migrant smuggling may be a bar to the grant of refugee status.