The Latest: French activist defiant ahead of migrant ruling

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2017 11:13 AM
The Latest: French activist defiant ahead of migrant ruling

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

A French activist remains defiant ahead of a court ruling that could see him jailed for sheltering illegal migrants.

Cedric Herrou was put on trial for helping illegal migrants enter, travel and stay in France.

The verdict is expected on Friday. On Thursday, he still had teenagers from Sudan and Eritrea staying in caravans on his farm.

Herrou says: "The more they pressure us, the stronger we are."

In the Roya valley in the Alps, Herrou has taken in dozens of migrants over the past year.

His case has called attention to people offering food, lodging or other aid to migrants from impoverished or war-torn countries coming to Europe illegally.

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4:10 p.m.

A Hungarian official says that the government plans to hold migrants in border camps of shipping containers while their asylum requests are settled.

Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff, also says that once the new rules are in place, any migrants detained without documents allowing them to be in Hungary will be returned across the border.

Presently, asylum-seekers whose claims are under appeal are placed mostly in open camps and some leave for Western Europe before their cases are decided. Migrants detained within eight kilometers (five miles) of the border are sent back across the fences Hungary has built on its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia.

Lazar says the measures will be enacted only when the government declares a state of emergency because of mass migration.

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3:30 p.m.

Authorities in Macedonia say they have returned 49 refugees and migrants to Greece from a refugee camp near its border with Serbia as part of a readmission agreement with the European Union.

A police official told The Associated Press the refugees were transported by bus to Greece from the Tabanovce refugee camp. The officials asked not to be identified, citing lack of authorization to speak to the news media.

The local office of the United Nations refugee agency said most of those transported were Syrian and they included several infants.

About 200 refugees and other migrants remain stranded in Macedonia since Balkan border closures last year, while Greece says more than 60,000 remain stranded there.

—By Konstantin Testorides

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1:45 p.m.

Britain's government has placed a limit on the number of lone child refugees it will accept into the country, citing fears that people-traffickers are exploiting the system.

Some 350 children will be allowed in under the Dubs Amendment— far fewer than the 3,000 originally expected under the law that had been aimed at helping some of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children across Europe.

Some 200 children have been brought in thus far.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd says the decision was made after France raised concerns that government actions were acting as a draw to encourage children to make the perilous journey to the continent.

Rudd told lawmakers Thursday that the measure "acts as a draw. It acts as a pull. It encourages the people-traffickers."

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12:55 p.m.

Three employees with Swedish broadcaster SVT have been sentenced to community work after being convicted of human smuggling for bringing a 15-year Syrian boy to Sweden during the 2015 migrant influx that swept across Europe.

The Malmo's District Court said Thursday it was "obvious the SVT team helped for purely humanitarian reasons."

Reporter Fredrik Onnevall, his cameraman and interpreter were making a documentary on the migrants when they met an unaccompanied minor in Greece who wanted to go to Sweden. They wanted to document his trip by car, ferry and train.

Before the court, Onnevall admitted paying for a car rental and knowing the boy had false papers. In Sweden, the then-15-year-old boy was granted permanent asylum.

It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed.