The court convicted a man who smuggled an alien through Estonia
On 31 August, at the port of Tallinn, police officers identified a vehicle with Finnish license plates, which was hiding an Iraqi national who had entered the Schengen area illegally. On Wednesday, 1 September, the Iraqi national who was driving the car and who had a Finnish residence permit was convicted by a court for smuggling an alien across the Estonian state border.
Ülav Kalf, Head of the Border and Migration Surveillance Division of the North Prefecture, said that the police have now been with additional forces at the internal border in ports and at the Estonian-Latvian border for almost a month. “We raised our preparedness to deal with increased migratory pressures in Lithuania and Latvia. We know that irregular migrants may want to use Estonia for transit to Scandinavia. We are out with additional forces throughout Estonia, inspecting people and vehicles entering the country and also those going through the port to Finland. Police officers have certain practices to identify vehicles and people who may be involved in irregular migration or other illegal activities during random checks,” Kalf described.
On 31 August, police officers carried out checks at the port of Tallinn among people heading to Finland. For the purpose of inspection, police officers detained a passenger car with a Finnish registration number – BMW, which was driven by an Iraqi national born in 1986 who had a valid Finnish residence permit. When checking the vehicle, a police officer discovered a man hiding in the trunk. Both men were detained and the police officers identified that the man hiding in the trunk was an Iraqi national born in 1998 who had no legal basis to stay in Estonia.
Kalf stresses that the police respond seriously to any such case of smuggling, regardless of whether Estonia is the country of destination or the country of transit. “Unfortunately, in the context of increased migratory pressures, there are people who try to make money at the expense of irregular migrants by organising them illegally from one country to the next. This can be seen as an earning opportunity also by organised crime, which is why we respond very seriously to these cases in order to prevent them,” Kalf said.
Criminal proceedings were commenced against the man with a Finnish residence permit in connection with illegal transportation of an alien across the state border of Estonia (Section 259 of the Penal Code). The Public Prosecutor’s Office referred the criminal case to the court under the expedited procedure. The court sentenced the man to probation for almost eight months, with a probationary period of three years and an additional sentence of expulsion with a three-year prohibition on entry. In addition, the man has to pay the penalty payment of EUR 438 resulting from the conviction. The Public Prosecutor’s Office also requested the court to confiscate the car as a means of committing a criminal offence, which, however, shall be returned to the man based on the court’s decision.
Based on provisional data, the man picked up the Iraqi national with birth year 1998 in Latvia, which he entered illegally from Belarus. The man stayed in Belarus with a tourist visa since 28 August. The man was subjected to procedure for processing irregular migrants, he was detained for two months based on the court’s decision and taken to the detention centre.
On the same day, 31 August, at the port, border guards caught a Turkish national born in 1999 (according to provisional information) who was leaving Estonia and had no legal basis to stay in Estonia. The man was detained in order to clarify the circumstances and placed in the detention centre.
Since mid-August, when the police strengthened internal border controls, a total of 48,000 people and 24,000 vehicles have been checked at border crossings. At the Port of Tallinn, which is one of the most frequent border crossing points in Estonia, the police check daily about 85% of all passengers.