NewsNews

Four suspected human traffickers appear in court after decomposing bodies of 71 migrants found in truck

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Four suspected human traffickers appear in court after decomposing bodies of 71 migrants found in truck

Four suspected human traffickers said they were innocent as they appeared in a Hungarian court over the decomposing bodies of 71 migrants found in a truck in Austria.

Police believe the suspects who appeared in the court in Kecskemet Saturday are low-ranking members of one of the numerous, unscrupulous people-smuggling gangs that transport migrants in return for sometimes exorbitant amounts of money.

They were arrested after the truck was discovered abandoned by an Austrian motorway on Thursday. Police said the victims, believed to be mainly refugees fleeing the war in Syria, may have been dead for up to two days.

The court remanded the three Bulgarians aged 29, 30, 50 and the 28-year-old Afghan in custody until September 29.

Their appearance came as three "severely dehydrated" children were recovering in an Austrian hospital a day after they were rescued from a second van packed with 26 Syrians, Bangladeshis and Afghans.

The van was pulled over by Austrian police after a short chase early Friday near the German border.

"If the journey had continued the situation could probably have become critical," a police spokesman told AFP.

Another spokesman said that the two five-year-old girls and one six-year-old boy were in "stable" condition in hospital Saturday.