Cameroonian who smuggled compatriots under guise of fake handball team expulsed

swissinfo.ch | A man who posed as the coach of Cameroon’s national handball team has been given a two year suspended sentence and barred from Switzerland for six years.

The Cameroonian national had arrived in January at Zurich airport along with 19 compatriots without visas. Upon arrival, the 45-year-old declared that he was traveling with his team to participate in the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

All false, according to prosecutors. The man acknowledged the charges and the penalty demands and was therefore tried today by the District Court of Bülach in canton Zurich under the fast-track procedure.

The Cameroonian national was found guilty of qualified promotion of illegal entry and stay. The man, who has been in preventive detention since his arrival in Switzerland, will now be released and handed over to the Immigration Office, which will handle deportation.

Of the 19 Cameroonians who arrived with him in Switzerland, 17 later traveled to France to live a clandestine existence. Two remained in Switzerland, applied for asylum and in turn became untraceable.

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The defendant said in court that he received 2,500 euros for his service. The man, a sports teacher, is actually employed by the Cameroonian handball association.

“We are in the realm of highly professional migration crime,” the single judge said in presenting the ruling. Real passports were used and many efforts were made to make the group look like a real national handball team. “In light of the confession, however, a two-year sentence seems appropriate,” the judge added.

In addition to the suspended sentence and expulsion from Switzerland, the sentence also includes the confiscation of 22 passports. These will be handed over to the cantonal police, who will use them to train officers at the document examination center.

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