Iranian man, 21, who tried to smuggle Iraqi migrants into UK hidden inside SOFAS and armchairs is jailed for nearly three years
- Arman Yusuf Rahmani arranged for local ‘man with van’ drivers to pick up sofas
- They were not informed the cargo contained people & were told not to help load
- UK Border Force officers found them, all said to Iraqi males under 18, in France
A man who attempted to smuggle migrants into the UK hidden inside sofas from France and Belgium has been jailed.
Arman Yusuf Rahmani, who himself was granted asylum in this country after entering in the back of a lorry, hired six ‘man with van’ drivers advertising their services.
The 21-year-old Iranian arranged for them to drive from the UK to the continent to collect second hand furniture but told them not to help with loading the vehicles.
Upon arrival at the UK border in France, Border Force officers searched the vans and found the migrants, all Iraqi males aged under 18, hiding inside, Preston Crown Court heard.
The men, said to be under 18, were found hidden inside furniture such as armchairs and sofas
UK Border Force officials discovered the drivers, unaware of the migrants in their vans, would not have been able to hear their cries for help
He was arrested a short time later and pleaded guilty to breaking UK immigration law. He has now been sentenced to two years and seven months in prison.
The court had been told the drivers did not know people were hidden inside the items they had been paid to transport
Video footage and photographs later taken of the hiding spots show that any plea for help from those in the back of the van would not have been heard.
The evidence confirmed Rahmani had no regard for the welfare of the people he was paid to hide, it was heard.
Rahmani had established a criminal network to facilitate foreign nationals illegally entering the UK.
Speaking after the sentencing, Minister for Immigration Compliance & Justice, Chris Philip, said: ‘Rahmani showed a blatant disregard for the laws of the UK, a country which provided him with safety and a place to live for which he has rightly paid the price.
The men attempting to illegally enter the country were crammed inside tight spaces such as this one
‘This case shows the lengths criminals will go to profit from our broken asylum system by putting people’s lives at risk
Arman Yusuf Rahmani, 21, pleaded guilty to breaking UK immigration law and has been jailed for two years and seven months
‘We are aiming to step up prosecution of those smuggling people into the country which is why this government is bringing legislation through our New Plan for Immigration, breaking the business model of these heinous people-smuggling networks and save lives.’
Rahmani faces deportation as foreign national offender at the end of his sentence.
Katie Brown, a Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) investigator added: ‘Today’s sentence is the result of an excellent investigation which brought to an end Rahmani’s pattern of criminality.
‘People smugglers are motivated by money alone and show no regard for the safety of those they exploit.
‘This case is a message that we never stop looking for those involved in immigration crime.’