Swedish woman is first to be charged under new people smuggling laws

Zam Zam Abdikarim was arrested at Dublin Airport 
Swedish woman is first to be charged under new people smuggling laws

One of the entrance's to Dublin Airport. File Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A Swedish woman has become the first to be charged under stronger laws brought in to tackle people smuggling.

On Thursday, the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) arrested Zam Zam Abdikarim, 25, at Terminal One, Dublin Airport.

The woman, who has an unknown address in Vannas, a city in northern Sweden, was charged and held pending her appearance at Dublin District Court on Saturday.

GNIB sergeant Kieran Madigan provided Judge Bryan Smyth with a certificate detailing evidence of the arrest and charging process.

Ms Abdikarim is charged with an offence under section six of the recently introduced Criminal Justice (Smuggling of Persons) Act 2021. 

She is accused of intentionally assisting entry, transit across or presence of another person in the State in breach of a specified provision.

Defence solicitor Brian Keenan said there was no application for bail at this stage.

Ms Abdikarim, who has not yet indicated how she will plead, did not address the court.

After being informed that the woman had no assets, Judge Smyth granted legal aid; there was no Garda objection.

He remanded her in custody to appear again via video link on Friday. Directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have yet to be obtained.

The Government introduced the new legislation to strengthen measures to tackle people-smuggling. It was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on December 15.

It covers broader scenarios and has a wider geographical range than existing legislation. It also replaces most aspects of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000.

The existing offence was limited to facilitating entry into the State; the new legislation covers smuggling into other countries – including EU member states, and parties to the UN protocol against people smuggling.

It also provides a defence to protect those acting for genuinely humanitarian purposes and not for gain, or on behalf of bona fide humanitarian organisations.

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