On 25 June 2004, approximately 04.00, the defendant swam from some place of the Moroccan coast towards Ceuta (Spain). He was equipped with a neoprene suit and fins, and he towed an Algerian irregular migrant. The latter did not hold the necessary documentation to enter or stay in Spain. The defendant acted in the fashion afore-explained with the purpose of facilitating - upon payment of an undetermined fee – the illegal entry of the migrant in Spain. Notably, the migrant later stated to have paid 100 Euro for the services of the defendant.
Law enforcement agents (Guardia Civil) spotted the defendant and the irregular migrant through a nigh vision camera. They proceed to inform the Coast Guard, the officers of which were able to intercept the defendant and the migrant on the sea and rescue them. Both the defendant and the smuggled migrant presented clear signs of exhaustion and hypothermia. The smuggled migrant declared to have swallowed water in a number of instances.
In ascertaining the facts, authorities relied on testimonial evidence and documentary evidence, including a report concerning the deaths occurred in similar circumstances in 2003 (11) and 2004 (5 until the date of the decision).
The Public Prosecutor charged the defendant with migrant smuggling, having requested that he be convicted to eight years’ imprisonment. The Audiencia Provincial de Cádiz (Spain)convicted the defendant, though applying a penalty lower than the one requested by the Prosecution.
For further details see “Commentary”.
With no prior criminal record. Remanded in custody since 26 June 2004 for reasons related to the instant case. The Defence argued inter alia that the defendant acted upon humanitarian concerns.