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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
'People smugglers' held in Athens
Athens map
A gang of suspected people traffickers has been arrested in Athens for holding hostage 60 illegal immigrants, Greek police say.

The suspects are accused of trying to get the captives to pay about 1,900 euros (1,291; $2,530) each for their passage into Greece.

The immigrants - thought to be mostly Somalis - were held in two flats in Athens, authorities say.

Greece is a major transport hub for many immigrants heading to Europe.

The immigrants had arrived on the island of Evia near Athens by boat after stopping off in Turkey, according to police.

Thirty-two were being held in a flat in the suburb of Nikea, and 28 others in a basement in the central neighbourhood of Exarchia.

Police said the migrants were crammed into modified "prison-like" rooms, with barred windows and security doors.

According to the Greek news website Ekathimerini, the suspects include three Afghans and an Iranian national.


SEE ALSO
UN highlights human trafficking
26 Mar 07 |  Special Reports
Country profile: Greece
30 Nov 06 |  Country profiles



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