Frenchwoman spared sentence for helping Iranian migrant lover cross to UK

Frenchwoman spared sentence for helping Iranian migrant lover cross to UK ... 29/06/2017 People

Keywords:#AFP, #Africa, #Britain, #British, #France, #French,, #Iranian, #Mediterranean, #Middle_East, #National_Front, #Prosecutor, #UK

Beatrice Huret was found guilty at trial of helping Mokhtar, whom she met while volunteering at the since-demolished “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais, slip out of France.
world Updated: Jun 28, 2017 08:02 IST
AFP, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
A former supporter of France’s anti-immigration National Front escaped punishment on Tuesday for helping her Iranian refugee lover cross the Channel to Britain on a rickety boat.
Beatrice Huret, 44, was found guilty at trial of helping Mokhtar -- whom she met while volunteering at the since-demolished “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais -- slip out of France under cover of night in a boat she had bought for 1,000 euros ($1,130).
Although prosecutors requested a one-year suspended sentence for illegally-assisting migrants and putting them in danger, the court in the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, near Calais, ruled she should not face jail or a fine.
“We are both very relieved,” said a teary Huret, who phoned her lover immediately with the news.
Arriving at the courthouse earlier, she said she took “full responsibility” for her actions.
“I am prepared to give up my life for him,” the widowed mother of a 19-year-old son said.
Prosecutor Camille Gourlin argued that Huret and a French immigration activist also on trial had put the lives of Mokhtar and two other Iranian men in danger by helping them take a boat across the Channel, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Beatrice Huret (right) speaks with her lawyer Marie-Helene Calonne at Boulogne-sur-Mer court house, northern France. (AFP Photo)

* * * They were rescued by the British coastguard as their boat began to take in water.
“Solidarity is laudable but not at any price and not in any conditions,” the prosecutor said.
“In 2016, more than 5,000 migrants died in the Mediterranean in boats... We don’t want to be collecting corpses from the beaches of Pas-de-Calais,” she said, referring to the northern region.
Activist Laurent C, who was also found guilty but spared punishment, said he would continue to help migrants living rough on the streets of the northern French port.
‘Love at first sight’
A total of four people were tried for their role in helping migrants fleeing war, persecution or poverty in the Middle East or Africa reach Britain.
An Iranian migrant found in possession of 16,000 pounds ($20,370, 18,200 euros) in cash from alleged smuggling operations was sentenced to three years imprisonment, 16 months of which were suspended.
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