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Prosecutors Appeal Smuggling Ruling

May 26, 2001

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Prosecutors will appeal the ruling against seven men in the deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants last June, Dutch media reported Friday.

The defendants were found guilty of running a human trafficking operation, but were acquitted of the most serious charge _ manslaughter. The court sentenced them on May 11 to prison terms of up to nine years, less than half the punishment prosecutors wanted.

Prosecutor Johan Klunder told Dutch television the district attorney’s office would fight the acquittal of the manslaughter charges against the seven, but would not appeal the complete acquittal of two other defendants.

The bodies of the 58 migrants _ 54 men and four women _ were discovered on June 18 by customs officials in Dover, England. Only two Chinese immigrants survived the ferry crossing from Zeebrugge, Belgium.

The driver of the Dover truck, Dutchman Perry Wacker, was convicted last month of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 years in prison by an English court.

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