Doctors, nursing staff arrested on Samos for allegedly supplying fake med certificates to irregular migrants, Mideast refugees

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 12:48
UPD:15:02
Eurokinissi/ΜΠΟΝΗΣ ΧΡΗΣΤΟΣ

ΣΑΜΟΣ--ΚΕΝΤΡΟ ΠΡΟΣΦΥΓΩΝ --ΧΡΗΣΤΟΣ ΜΠΟΝΗΣ//EUROKINISSI

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An undetermined number of physicians and nursing staff at the main hospital on the eastern island of Samos were arrested on Wednesday on charges of supplying forged documents to third country nationals that had illegally landed on the island from the nearby Turkish coast.

The arrested medical personnel are charged with receiving payment for supplying the forged documents, mostly diagnoses and other medical certificates. The purpose of the alleged scheme was to designate foreign nationals in "at risk" categories, whereby their transport from Samos to the Greek mainland would be made easier.

A number of translators, mostly Arabic speakers, were also arrested, although no specific number was given.

Samos, along with a handful of other eastern Aegean islands, emerged as a favorite destination for migrant smuggling rings operating from Turkey, with practically all foreign nationals illegally ferried onto Greek territory - and only people fleeing Mideast war zones - subsequently filing applications as asylum seekers.

The report comes a day after authorities said six people, including a police officer, were arrested last Friday on the Dodecanese island of Kos on charges of facilitating the travel of non-EU foreign nationals from the island's airport to western Europe destinations via forged documents and passports.

 Four of the suspects are Greek nationals, and the other two foreign nationals, including a man authorities claim is the mastermind of the migrant smuggling operation.

Police said the ring operated as far back as April 2018, with "clients" located by other members of the ring in the greater Athens area, and then sent to Kos by regular ferry boat route. Other alleged members of the ring would supply stolen passports, which would then be forged.

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