Somali man beats life sentence for migrant smuggling

Mohamad Hanad Abdi from Somalia arrives at a court in Mytilene, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesvos, Greece, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. [Panagiotis Balaskas/AP]

An appeals court in Greece has ordered the release of a Somali migrant who had been sentenced to life in prison for people smuggling, in a case that has drawn international attention to draconian border protection laws in the European Union country.

Mohammad Hanad Abdi was sentenced to 142 years in prison in 2021 after being convicted following a deadly crossing in a dinghy from Turkey to the nearby Greek island of Lesvos the previous year.

At an appeal Monday on the Greek island of Lesvos, his sentence was reduced to 8 years and an appeals court judge ordered his release, recognizing time served and good behavior. The trial was attended by several members of the European Parliament who had argued that Abdi, a 29-year-old father of four, had been wrongfully convicted. "We are all in tears with relief. It was a very difficult day. The state prosecutor took a tough line...

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