Human trafficking murder trial begins in Hungary

Just under two years after the bodies of 71 refugees who died from suffocation were found in a truck in Austria, the trial against eleven suspected people smugglers has begun in Kecskemét, Hungary. Europe's press is dismayed that politicians appear to have learned little from the tragedy and still haven't put an end to the smugglers' cruel business.

Open/close all quotes
Kurier (AT) /

Trial highlights Europe's incompetence

Europe's politicians are still making a pitiful show of themselves in the refugee crisis although they should have learned from past mistakes, Kurier criticises:

“No one doubts nowadays that many political decisions would have been different without the refugee tragedy. Even the death of the 71 migrants could have been avoided. Hungarian investigators started tapping the traffickers' telephones some time before the tragedy. ... It's also clear now that Europe was unable to react quickly to the wave of refugees. And what about the Mediterranean route where thousands lose their lives every year? On this topic too, much has been said but there are few demonstrable results. ... And now the EU is well on its way to making its next mistake.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Stiff sentences won't be a deterrent

Tages-Anzeiger also doesn't believe the trial underway in Hungary will bring any major changes:

“There is one thing the trial in Kecskemét won't do: deter other people-smugglers from continuing their cynical business with refugees. Not even if the accused are found guilty and receive the maximum sentence. Heavy punishment is as ineffective a deterrent as high fences. … The only way to combat this horrendous smuggling is to make it possible for refugees to seek asylum through legal channels. … Embassy asylum, however, has been abolished, and today we're back where we were in August 2017, before 71 dead people were discovered in the lorry. People pay smugglers and people die trying to flee. But as long as they drown in the Mediterranean rather than suffocating on a Central European motorway, Europe simply looks on impassively.”