Two lorry drivers charged in UK over Afghans found in shipping container

LONDON Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:38pm IST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Two lorry drivers were charged on Saturday by British police investigating the death of an Afghan man who was among 35 suspected stowaways found in a shipping container at a dock in eastern England a week ago.

Police said Stephen McLaughlin and Timothy Murphy, both aged 34 and from Northern Ireland, were charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the United Kingdom.

The body of Meet Singh Kapoor, 40, was found on Aug 16 when staff at Tilbury docks in Essex, eastern England, heard screaming and banging coming from a container being unloaded after arriving on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

They found 35 people in the shipping container, including about 13 children aged between one and 12, who were believed to be from Afghanistan and were mainly Sikhs. Several needed hospital treatment for hypothermia and dehydration.

Sikhs make up a tiny minority in Afghanistan's population of around 31 million people.

Police are continuing investigations to find out how the people came to be in the container and to establish the cause of Kapoor's death.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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