Commentary Court of Appeal

Czech driver convicted of smuggling migrants has evidence of his innocence

In France, the case of a Czech truck driver convicted of smuggling migrants heads to the Court of Appeal.

Police found a group of Iraqis in the freezer box of Jiří Sagan´s truck near Calais. The driver defended himself by stating that he did not know anything about them. The French court, in its earlier judgement, stated that the Czech driver facilitated the movement of illegal migrants and sentenced Sagan to one and a half years in prison.

However, according to Sagan's lawyer Ladislav Drha, the French police did not take into account some important evidence. "There was, reportedly, an inspection of the truck interior that Mr. Sagan attended, and the loads were not marked as going to Great Britain. But we have evidence that Mr. Sagan was not present during the inspection and that the goods were marked. The protocol therefore describes the exact opposite. It is a document that Mr. Sagan refused to sign just for this reason," he explains.

The Czech driver has been in custody since the beginning of July. The family could not visit or call him for five months. It is not yet clear when exactly the court will pass a judgement. "As a rule, the judgement is not announced directly at the French courts. It takes about 14 days or one month to prepare a written copy," Drha describes. According to him, the court may also adjourn further proceedings and delay the adjudication.

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