Two defendants in deadly human trafficking case may have worked for foreign intelligence agencies

July 3, 2017

The two men accused of fifth- and first-degree crimes in a human trafficking case that led to the death of 71 asylum-seekers may have worked for foreign intelligence agencies, reports government-friendly daily Magyar Idők.

According to his confessions during the investigation, the fifth-degree accused had been working for the Bulgarian interior counter-intelligence agency since 1996. According to his confession, the accused helped to acquire vehicles under Bulgarian names for the human trafficking gang at a Hungarian car dealership at their request.

But when the accused realized that the men’s activities included human trafficking (one of the vehicles that was sold to the gang was found by Hungarian police on the M0 highway with migrants in the trailer), he informed Bulgarian intelligence. However, according to Magyar Idők, the Bulgarian counter-intelligence agency did not identify the fifth-degree accused as a collaborator when Hungarian authorities requested his identification.

According to Magyar Idők’s information, the first-degree accused, who was thought to be of Afghan origin, might be Pakistani instead. Based on Magyar Idők’s uncited sources, the presumed Afghan might have worked among Pakistani human traffickers on orders from the Pakistani secret service. The accused allegedly mixes Urdu (the official language of Pakistan) phrases into his Pashto (the official language of Afghanistan) and complained on the first day of the trial that the interpreter did not speak Pashto well. As Pakistani authorities failed to identify the first-degree accused, he is still considered Afghan in the ongoing trial.

The bodies of the 71 individuals were found in August, 2015 in the cargo container of a truck abandoned along the A4 highway in Austria. Law enforcement officials attributed the deaths to suffocation, and said the people, including four children, had been dead for about one and a half days. The victims were determined to have died in Hungary, and the trial is therefore being held in Kecskemét, south-east of Budapest.