A Swedish citizen has been jailed by an Irish court for 18 months after pleading guilty to trafficking an illegal immigrant into the State.
Lawyers for Farhan Abdirizak, aged 40, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the Swede, a native of Somalia, was trying to help his “nephew” get into Ireland from their war-torn native Somalia.
On November 1 last year gardaí at Dublin Airport identified a young man travelling under false documentation. This male told gardaí that he had travelled with Abdirizak but never said they were related.
He told gardaí that he was aged 15 but asylum documentation found on him indicated he was aged 19.
Gardaí questioned Abdirizak and he told them that the young man was his “nephew” who had left Somalia and travelled to Greece via Turkey. He said the boy contacted him and Abdirizak travelled from Sweden to Athens to assist him.
He didn’t give any explanation to gardaí why the boy insisted on going to Ireland and not to Sweden.
He denied he was a human trafficker and said “I was only helping him as a human, he had a hard life, I didn’t smuggle him or ask for money”.
Detective Sergeant Patrick Whelan from the Garda National Immigration Bureau told Gráinne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that he made inquiries with Interpol and with Western Union and MoneyGram looking for any suspicious transfers of money linked to Abdirizak.
He agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that there was no evidence of any large sums of money moving around and no connection with any terrorism or sexual exploitation.
Mr Rea said his client sought asylum in Sweden in 2007 and since then he has set himself up as a teacher in Sweden, helping other Somali refugees to settle in Sweden.
“He did the wrong thing for the right reasons,” counsel said.
Abdirizak with an address in Noorrkopling, Sweden, pleaded guilty to facilitating the entry into Ireland of a person whom he knows or has reasonable cause to believe to be an illegal immigrant or a person who intends to seek asylum.
He also admitted having possession of a false instrument, a Ryanair boarding pass in a false name.
After hearing the evidence and a plea of mitigation Judge Elma Sheahan imposed a prison term of two and a half years.
She suspended the final year and backdated the sentence to last November, when Abdirizak went into custody.