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Hungarian Police Detain Fifth Suspect for Refugee Deaths in Truck

by Reuters / / Source: Reuters

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BUDAPEST — Hungarian police said on Sunday they had arrested a fifth suspect, a Bulgarian citizen, in connection with the deaths of 71 migrants whose bodies were found in an abandoned refrigeration truck on a highway in Austria last week.

An unprecedented number of people from the Middle East and Africa are undertaking perilous journeys to reach Europe by land and sea. Hundreds have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year.

Austrian police said on Sunday that forensic examiners had performed autopsies on 16 of the bodies of refugees and presumed they suffocated.

Three Bulgarians and one Afghan citizen are already under arrest pending an investigation in Hungary. They face up to 16 years in prison for trafficking in Hungary plus murder charges in Austria.

The Bulgarian man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, police said in a statement, without giving further details.

Another truckload of refugees, including three children, narrowly escaped death when they were discovered in Austria on Saturday.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius accused eastern European states, notably Hungary, on Sunday of a "scandalous" policy towards refugees going against the values of the European Union, while British Interior Minister Theresa May said Europe's borderless system was exacerbating a migrant crisis.

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