Netherlands

Netherlands Releases Two Suspected Human Smugglers To Fight for Ukraine

The Netherlands has set two prisoners free who are accused of human smuggling so that they can join the battle against Russian forces invading Ukraine. Both males, aged 27 as well as 29, are from Lutsk, in northwestern Ukraine.

The duo was detained and put in Ter Apel jail in September for purportedly attempting to smuggle a group of Albanians into the United Kingdom by watercraft.

According to the court order, the court identified that there are “extraordinary, serious circumstances” to release the two men, specifically Ukraine’s desperate call for volunteers to join the fight against Russia. It stated, “the interest that the suspect has in his release outweighs the public interest served by continuing the suspect’s pretrial detention.”

The Dutch News reports, the court located the suspects were “insistent they wish to follow that call,” and that “it is important that they are with their family in Ukraine at this time.”

“The court did say that the two suspects should report back to the Dutch authorities again if ordered to do so and that they must agree to sit out any sentence once their trial has been held. In addition, they should refrain from committing any crimes while their remand has been lifted,” the report continued.

When questioned by the Dutch media regarding what assurance they have that the men will return to finish their sentences, court spokeswoman Carine Marsé said that they would certainly be jailed if they attempted to enter the Netherlands once more.

Accordign to Euractiv, “In late February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy decided to release inmates to fight the war against Russia.

“Under martial law, Ukrainians with real combat experience will be released from custody and will be able to compensate for their guilt in the hottest spots of the conflict,” Zelenskyy said.

The two men are facing a maximum of 18 years behind bars if found guilty.

H/T Timcast

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