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Sudanese people smuggler jailed for two years over dangerous Channel crossings
20 August 2020, 14:15
A Sudanese man has been jailed for smuggling himself and nine other people – including two children – across the Channel and into the UK on board a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB).
Altaib Mobarak was sentenced to two years in prison having admitted facilitating illegal entry into the UK at an earlier hearing.
Appearing at Canterbury Crown Court, the 43-year-old admitted he was at the helm when the RHIB was intercepted in the Channel on the morning of 7 July by a Border Force cutter boat.
The RHIB had earlier been witnessed taking evasive action away from a French coastguard vessel.
All 10 people on board the RHIB – Sudanese and Yemeni nationals - were transferred to the cutter boat and brought to Dover where they were passed to immigration officials.
Mobarak was arrested and the investigation into the incident was carried out by Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) officers.
During an interview with officers, Mobarak admitted driving the boat.
Clandestine Channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney said: “People should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter and those attempting to cross the Channel, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, in unsuitable boats and without appropriate maritime skills are putting at risk the lives of all those on board.
"It is of particular concern when, as was the case here, vulnerable children are involved.
“It is precisely because of this risk to life – a reality that we have seen confirmed in yesterday’s tragic incident – that we are determined to put a stop to these dangerous crossings.”
Mr O’Mahoney was appointed earlier this month and is aiming to work closely with French officials to close down the route.
The Government also hopes to negotiate stronger enforcement measures from France and adopt interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats.
Last month, a joint intelligence cell was established with France and investigations resulted in 11 arrests.