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Forced confession in exchange for a faster trial

A couple was arrested by the Slovenian police and forced to confess to smuggling migrants. They were denounced by migrants who were threatened by the police to be deported to Bosnia.

Forced confession in exchange for a faster trial

Image Credits: DAILY SABAH

On 05.10.2021 MM and HH went to Croatia to meet MM’s brother (EM). The brother fled from Afghanistan. There were two Iranian men with him who were also fleeing. All three came from Greece and wanted to continue to Europe.

MM and HH were surprised about the two Iranians and actually only wanted to meet with the brother/brother-in-law. But after the three fugitives had been on the run for more than 8 months and the Iranians begged MM and HH to help, they took them to the border between Croatia and Slovenia. Beyond the border of Slovenia, MM and HH spent the night alone. The three refugees crossed the border illegally on foot and were then arrested by the Slovenian police.

During the interrogation of the three refugees, they were put under extreme pressure by the Slovenian police and threatened with imprisonment and deportation to Bosnia if they did not reveal who had smuggled them into Slovenia. As a result, the two Iranian refugees accused the brother of being a smuggler, and MM and HH of being his accomplices. They also revealed the license plate number, the car description and the description of the couple to the police. As a result, MM and HH were also arrested at their rest area on the morning of 06.10.2021 and were sent to prison in Krško. A new car and two cell phones of MM and HH were confiscated. The two Iranian refugees were sent to an initial reception center after testifying.

MM and HH are accused of unauthorized trafficking. In early October, €1,000 was transferred to HH’s account from his brother-in-law. Probably money that he earned in Greece and HH should forward to his mother. This money supports the accusation of trafficking.

HH’s attorney had spoken with the responsible public prosecutor and he initially held out the prospect of HH’s release in exchange for a payment of 60,000€. After a negotiation with the public prosecutor’s office the sum was negotiated down. The lawyer recommended payment and an admission of guilt. HH was released in mid-January in exchange for a €35,000 fine and a confession of the crime. The confession of the crime was “forced” by the public prosecutor’s office. Otherwise, the proceedings could have lasted up to two years for the court hearing. This would have meant that his unlimited residence permit in Germany would have expired and he would have lost his permanent position at Thyssenkrupp - Rasselstein. A certificate of good character by the mayor of the WO, the employer Rasselstein, and the unlimited residence permit did not help to convince the prosecutor.

MM was released from custody on 20.10.2021 against a bail of 5000 € and could travel back to her son in Germany.On 02.02.2022, she received a letter from the Slovenian prosecutor’s office, as her case is still pending and she was only released from custody due to the bail payment.

Following a request by the Borderline Europe on behalf of the accused couple, the Sea-Watch Legal Aid Fund decided to cover part of the legal expenses.

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