French Charity Worker Spared Jail for Smuggling Iranian Migrant Lover to UK

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By Nahema Marchal | 7:12 am, June 28, 2017

A French charity worker who helped her Iranian refugee boyfriend enter Britain illegally has avoided punishment by arguing that she acted “out of love.”

Béatrice Huret, 45 (pictured), was accused of helping to smuggle her lover – known only as Mokhtar – and two other men into the UK on a boat she purchased for 1,000 euros.

She had met the men while volunteering at the notorious Calais “Jungle” camp in northern France. Mokhtar, 34, had fled Iran where he was persecuted for being Christian and was one of the many migrants who sewed his lips together in protest of the demolition of part of the camp in March 2016.

Huret, formerly a supporter of the anti-immigrant Front National party , told AFP she was “relieved” by the ruling as it meant she could continue seeing Mokhtar. She also said she took “full responsibility for her actions” as she had acted out of love and humanitarian concern.

“I am prepared to give up my life for him. The only thing that would bother me is that I would no longer be able to see Mokhtar if I’m in jail,” Huret, who has a 19 year-old son, said.

Huret’s life changed radically in February 2015 after she gave a lift to a young Sudanese refugee who was traveling to the makeshift camp, located near her home, in the hope of crossing the Channel to the UK.

“It was a shock to see all these people wading around in the mud,” she told AFP earlier this month.

She was tried alongside three other suspects accused of being part of an organized smuggling network, allegedly working for financial gain. If convicted, they risked up to 10 years in jail.

During the trial, public prosecutor Camille Gourdin requested a one-year suspended prison sentence for Huret, arguing that she had endangered the lives of Mokhtar and the two other Iranian men she took across the Channel.

“Solidarity is laudable but not at any price and not in any conditions,” Gourdin said.

Since crossing the Channel, Mokhtar has been granted asylum in the UK, and is now living in Sheffield where Béatrice Huret visits him regularly.

 

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