A French court sentenced a farmer Tuesday for smuggling African and Middle East refugees past police on the Italian border to his home in southeast France.
Cédric Herrou hid immigrants in caravans to shield them from authorities at his farm in the Roya Valley. Herrou was given a $3,543 fine in February for transporting illegal immigrants to France, but prosecutors later deemed this penalty as too lenient for his actions. Herrou previously housed teenagers from Eritrea and Sudan, according to BBC News.
“I’d like the judiciary to recognise what’s happening on the ground in the Roya Valley, recognise these asylum seekers,” Herrou said. “What am I to do, really? Kick these people out?”
While the French court gave Herrou a four-month suspended jail sentence, Herrou said that he had “no regrets.”
“It’s the role of a citizen in a democracy to act when the state is failing,” Herrou said.
Immigration is one of the leading issues in EU policy discussions, with a population growth of up to 512 million due to the influx of immigrants in 2017.
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