The Latest: Man gets 10 years in prison for robbing migrants

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2016 10:52 AM
The Latest: Man gets 10 years in prison for robbing migrants

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migrant crisis (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

A Hungarian man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbing four migrants from Afghanistan last year.

An appeals court in the western city of Gyor on Wednesday confirmed a lower court ruling which declared the man was guilty of taking cash, mobile phones and clothes with a total value of $1,400 from the migrants.

The man was identified only by his initials, S.F. The court said he promised to take the Afghans from the Gyor train station to a nearby reception center for migrants on June 9, 2015.

Instead, he and an unidentified accomplice drove them to a wooded area outside the city, where they held a meat cleaver to the neck of one of them and forced them to hand over their possessions.

The court considered the man's attempt to exploit the migrants' dire situation and an earlier prison term as aggravating circumstances.

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2:45 p.m.

Spain's foreign minister says the European Union's deal with Turkey to halt the flow of migrants to the bloc has had good effects but is still "a botched job."

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told Spain's Cope radio Wednesday he doesn't like the idea that the matter is in the hands of a third country — Turkey — in exchange for certain conditions. He added that until the EU sets up a European Asylum Agency "everything will be a botched job."

Garcia-Margallo recognized that the accord with Turkey was halting the dangerous sea crossings, "which is good because they (the migrants) were risking their lives" and were at the mercy of mafias.

But, he added, "that doesn't stop it being a botched job."

He said migrants seeking asylum must be identified, registered and relocated at the point of entry into the bloc. But he said the situation now was "a bottle-neck" and "not working."

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2:30 p.m.

The Greek ambassador has returned to Austria, formally ending strains that began after the shut-down of the migrant route to central Europe left tens of thousands stranded in Greece.

The closing of the West Balkan route was orchestrated in Austria, and Greece reacted by pulling its ambassador back to Athens in late February. For weeks, chaos ruled on Greece's western border, where many of the more than 40,000 stranded migrants tried to push into Macedonia, the first stop on the now-closed Western Balkans route.

The crisis has eased, with arrivals dropping since Greece started returning people arriving clandestinely from Turkey under a March deal with the EU.

Ambassador Chryssoula Aliferi returned Wednesday, accompanying Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on his official visit.

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2:15 p.m.

Europe's leading human rights body is calling on Greece to provide alternatives to detaining children under an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to limit migration.

Several hundred children remain detained at camps on the Greek islands since the agreement took effect in late March.

In a report published Wednesday, the Council of Europe urged Greek authorities to address the issue "urgently" and to follow up on reports that refugee children were involved in criminal activities, including prostitution and drug trafficking.

An envoy from the Strasbourg, France-based body visited refugee shelters at six sites around Greece in March.

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11:20 a.m.

The European Commission says it's ready to start negotiating an agreement with Nigeria to send back Nigerian migrants who do not qualify to stay in the European Union.

The Commission said in a statement Wednesday that the move would ensure that returns are done "rapidly and efficiently." It said the so-called readmission agreement would respect international law.

Around 22,000 Nigerian nationals crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe last year, according to the EU's border agency, Frontex.

The EU only provides international protection to people fleeing conflict or violence.

EU member states must still give the green light for the readmission talks with Nigeria to begin.