Bulgaria to extradite suspect in refugee deaths | News | DW | 29.09.2015
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Bulgaria to extradite suspect in refugee deaths

Bulgaria will extradite a man suspected of having driven a truck found on an Austrian highway containing the bodies of 71 refugees. The man is also accused of belonging to an organized crime group trafficking migrants.

According to AFP news agency, the reports were confirmed by a spokesperson of a Bulgarian regional court.

"The Montana regional court has decided in favor of the extradition of Tsvetan Tsvetanov to Austria," court spokeswoman Svetla Stanimirova told AFP.

The 32-year-old Bulgarian man is accused of having been one of the drivers of the truck discovered by Austrian authorities in August with the bodies of 59 men, eight women and four children inside.

The suspect, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, was reportedly detained for 72 hours in August after being arrested at his home in Lom, Bulgaria.

He has denied any wrongdoing, with his lawyer stating Tsvetanov is willing to offer a blood sample to prove his innocence.

The victims of the tragedy were said to have been asylum seekers fleeing war-torn Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Martijn Pluim, director at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development in Vienna, told DW in late August that the asylum seekers were victims of "organized crime."

At least five others have been detained by European authorities in a bid to curb migrant trafficking.

ls/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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