UK jails Iraqi people smuggler for 10 years

London (AFP) –


An Iraqi was jailed for 10 years in Britain on Friday for plotting to smuggle as many as 21 migrants across the Channel from France in a small boat.

Nzar Jabar Mohamad, 33, was arrested in 2019 as he conspired with an international trafficking gang to bring the migrants to the UK for £10,000, ($13,645 11,784 euros) each, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

His sentencing at Hull Crown Court in northeast England follows a summer of record arrivals to Britain's shores by migrants making the dangerous crossing in often overcrowded or unseaworthy small vessels.

The NCA, which investigates serious and organised crime, obtained recordings of Mohamad's conversations with the gang in France and Belgium from his home in Hull.

In the conversations he was heard to squabble with other gang members and brag about trafficking dozens of women using lorries and small boats.

Mohamad, who had himself arrived in Britain in April 2019 after stowing away in a lorry, was arrested before the trafficking plot took place.

He was charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

Political pressure has mounted on the British government after hundreds of migrants crossed the Channel into Britain on a daily basis in July and August.

After promising to take back control of the country's borders following Brexit, the ruling Conservative party has proposed legislation to overhaul asylum rules.

It wants stricter jail terms for people smugglers and, controversially, migrants themselves.

The changes have been derided by human rights groups and blasted by the UN's refugee body which last month said the plans undermined international refugee protection rules.