By Yuriel Luigi Perico, Legal Intern
His methods of smuggling were creative but inhumane and deplorable as he smuggled migrants into the UK by concealing them into the bases of sofas which were transported to the UK.
Rahmani hired van drivers to provide their services as collectors and transporters of second-hand furniture from countries like France and Belgium to be brought into the UK. Unbeknownst to the van drivers they were the key to Rahmani’s operation. The sofas they were transporting contained the migrants being smuggled into the UK. They were tucked away, hidden within the bases of the sofas.
The drivers were instructed not to help with the loading of the furniture into the vehicles and Rahmani’s operations were extensive enough to provide distractions whilst the loading occurred. Video footage and photographs taken of the hiding spots indicate that any cries for help would have been in vain, for they would not have been heard. There is no better indicator of Rahmani’s lack of concern for the welfare of the people he was paid to smuggle.
On arrival at the UK border in France, UK Border Force officers searched the vans and identified the migrants who were hidden inside. All the illegal migrants claimed to be Iraqi males, under the age of 18.
Rahmani himself was an individual who had been granted asylum in the UK after entering the UK in the back of a lorry. After just 2 years in the UK, he had already created a criminal network to facilitate the entry of illegal migrants into the UK.
Chris Philip, the Minister for Immigration Compliance & Justice condemned Rahmani and said that he “showed a blatant disregard for the laws of the UK, a country which provided him with safety and a place to live for which he has rightly paid the price”.
Rahmani will see out his sentence, after which he will be eligible for deportation as a Foreign National Offender (FNO).
A case like this highlights the lengths and the extremes which people will go to when they are willing to resort to crime to get money. Katie Brown, a CFI Investigator said “People smugglers are motivated by money alone and show no regard for the safety of those they exploit ”. A simple, yet profound statement given the circumstances of this case, it illustrates just how vital it is for such criminal operations to be uncovered and stopped, otherwise more and more people may be at risk, due to heinous smuggling schemes such as this.
The government’s New Plan for Immigration may prove to be a necessary step to ensure that the maximum sentence for illegally entering the UK is served to those who breach UK laws. Perhaps the introduction of a maximum life sentence for those found guilty of facilitating illegal entry into the UK would prove to be an effective deterrent for those who would otherwise attempt such acts.
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