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Greece sentences 2 Russian sailors to 253 years in prison for migrant smuggling

The Russians pleaded not guilty

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. Two Russian sailors have been sentenced to 253 years behind bars each for transporting illegal migrants and human trafficking, Vice President for Russia’s United Nations Human Rights Committee office Ivan Melnikov told TASS.

"Konstantin Semenov and Ivan Voznikovtsev were sentenced to 253 years in prison for facilitating illegal migration, human trafficking and illegal crossing of the Greek border," he said, adding that this sentence equals around 20 years behind bars according to the Russian Criminal Code. Melnikov emphasized that this harsh punishment arises from the fact that the justice system sentenced the sailors to between 7 and 12 years in prison for each migrant, while punishment for other crimes was added on top of that.

The human rights official noted that the Russians pleaded not guilty. According to the sailors, they arrived in Turkey previously to work, as they were promised 2,000 euros each a month and paid meals for working on a cruise yacht to sail with tourists. "After completing training, the Russians sailed into the sea, but their yacht repeatedly broke down, and they notified the employer about it. However, instead of a boat with spare parts, illegal migrants showed up on flotation devices in the specified point. The employer threatened the sailors, while the migrants climbed aboard," Melnikov stressed. As a result, Semenov and Voznikovtsev had to let the people in, moving slowly along the coastline, trying to draw attention f coast guards in every way possible. When officers finally approached the yacht, Russians were detained and later accused of migrant smuggling.