A police court in southern Switzerland has sentenced a Swiss politician who helped 24 illegal immigrants enter the country via Italy.
In April, canton Ticino’s state prosecutor found Lisa Bosia Mirra, a parliamentarian with the leftwing Social Democrats, guilty. On Thursday, the police court in Bellinzona confirmed the sentence and fined Mirra CHF8,800 ($9,040), suspended for two years.
Mirra told the Swiss News Agency that she would appeal the latest ruling and would not resign while the verdict was not in effect.
The judge acknowledged Mirra’s good intentions, but stressed that she had broken the law on foreigners.
“The facts have been admitted by the accused, who for two weeks with the help of accomplices organised a network to help these 24 illegal immigrants enter and stay [in Switzerland],” the judge said. “While we acknowledge the tragic situation of these people, they were not in a risk country but in Italy and could have been helped there.”
Refugee support group
In September 2016, Mirra and an accomplice from Bern were caught driving a van carrying four African migrants from Italy to Switzerland.
Mirra is the founder of a refugee support group Firdaus, which provides meals to migrants congregating at the Swiss-Italian border and documents violations of their rights. Last summer, Switzerland’s border with Italy became a flashpoint in Europe’s migrant crisis, with a build-up of people along Italy’s frontier.
Asylum seekers trying to cross Switzerland were being returned to Italy in accordance with the Dublin accord, which requires them to register at the first point of entry in Europe. Swiss authorities have blamed the build-up along the Italian border on an influx of African migrants seeking passage to north European countries such as Germany. Most of the thousands of migrants who have tried to reach Switzerland through Ticino have been turned away since early July.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/sm