Austria horror: Truck driver denies knowledge of grisly cargo

2015-09-03 21:28


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Montana - One of the suspected drivers of the truck found abandoned in Austria with the decomposing bodies of 71 migrants inside denied on Thursday knowing there was anyone on board, as a Bulgarian court remanded him in custody.

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, 32, was brought to the hearing in handcuffs - both on his hands and feet - and under heavy police escort.

He was arrested in his home in a Roma neighbourhood of Lom in northwest Bulgaria on Monday on an European arrest warrant issued by Austrian prosecutors.

Appearing in court in the Bulgarian town of Montana, he kept silent when asked by journalists if he was the driver of the truck, but answered "No" when asked if he knew that he was carrying people inside.

According to the charge sheet he allegedly drove the truck, found on an Austrian motorway near the Hungarian border last Thursday, "at least some of the distance from Hungary to Austria".

The court was due to examine an Austrian extradition request on Monday.

The charges include "participation in an organised crime group, contraband trafficking and premeditated manslaughter of 71 people", Montana regional prosecutor Nina Borisova told the court.

Another five men, four Bulgarians and an Afghan, have so far been detained in Hungary.

Austrian police were due on Friday to release autopsy results of the 71 men, women and children, thought to be Syrians and to have suffocated up to two days before the truck was discovered.

Read more on:    austria  |  bulgaria  |  migrants

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