NewsVoice was contacted by the daughter of a Greek man that is currently being held in a Swedish jail to be locked up for six years in Kumla, a Swedish high-security prison, before being deported to Greece. The man was used as a mule in an elaborate and sinister drug trafficking scam, his daughter says.
By Torbjorn Sassersson | Photo: Gemma and Stylianos Koskinas – private photo
Gemma Koskinas the daughter of the imprisoned Stylianos Koskinas (61) says her father is innocent but a Swedish judge is not interested in nor accepting the fact that her father was unknowingly used as a drug mule, transporting 5 kilos of heroin from South Africa to Stockholm, Arlanda Airport, where he was apprehended after someone tipped the customs.
Gemma wants to highlight and expose what has actually happened to her father and her family and hopes that it might serve as a warning to other unsuspecting citizens throughout the world, especially elderly people that are targeted for the ”job”.
The court has in the verdict established that Stylianos Koskinas should have known better, he should have suspected that his suitcases were filled with drugs the judge believes. The judge seems to use Stylianos Koskinas previous experiences in international trade with oil, gold, diamonds and minerals against him.
At this time the situation for the Koskinas family is grim. The appeals have not succeeded. The Swedish legal system holds on tight to the first verdict. There will be no excuses. Koskinas must go to jail and he will shortly be moved to a high-security prison called Kumla, in Sweden, to serve for 6 years before being deported to Greece.
”Our father is a 61-year-old father of three and a grandfather of two who has very poor health. We are greatly concerned about his physical and mental state and fear that due to his current situation it will end in a fatality. He has been wrongly incarcerated and unfairly accused of something that he did not do with intent, and we as his family don’t really know where to turn.”
Gemma Koskinas and her family are disappointed that such a developed country’s judicial system plays so little attention to the solid evidence that they have of what has been a clear criminal set-up, she explains.
”In light of recent publicity surrounding Sweden and a rather famous US rapper, it can only show that Sweden is not the fair and just society that it portrays itself to be.”
The father has become the victim of an international drug smuggling scam.
First contact – a former ”oil minister”
The story begun earlier this year and in March of this year the family found out that the father had been arrested and accused of a very serious crime. A crime that was completely shocking and unbelievable.
Gemma Koskinas goes on telling the story of how it all unfolded. The father was living in the UK with his children at the time when he got approached via email from a man claiming to be a former oil minister from Libya, proposing an investment involving a money transfer to a European bank account.
Stylianos was fooled into signing a ‘fake business proposition’ scam, that led to him being set up through deceitful and fraudulent means, lured to South Africa on an ‘all expenses paid’ business trip and then finally used and tricked into unknowingly smuggling 5 kilos of heroin to Italy via Sweden.
The day he was due to fly they told him he had to go shopping for gifts to offer as thanks to the UN official he was to meet. He was stopped at Arlanda airport in Sweden, because of a ‘tip-off’ by an informant whilst in transit to his final destination, which was ultimately Italy, to meet the said UN ‘business representative’.
”We have evidence to prove that my father is innocent (we have all of the email correspondence between my father and these supposed business men, as well as WhatsApp messages) – yet Swedish authorities failed immensely in their investigation.”
Gemma says the case wasn’t even investigated at all. The Interpol, or Europol was never contacted, instead the people working on the case were only intent was on setting their precedent and gaining their conviction.
Arlanda airport already involved in drug trafficking
What seems to make the case even more disturbing is certain evidence that indicates that there is corruption going on in Arlanda airport near Stockholm. Only recently a number of airport workers were found to be involved in drug organizations and subsequently imprisoned.
Koskinas very co-operative and transparent
Whilst in custody, Gemma says her father was very co-operative and transparent as he had nothing to hide and had no idea of what was concealed inside his cases – he even offered for them to follow him to Italy to ‘catch the real culprits’ an offer that was ignored. Stylianos freely offered them his phones, laptop, and passwords. They had access to the telephone numbers of these people that had posed as ‘genuine business partners ‘ and set my father up in South Africa by using him as their mule, and still they did not try to trace these men, Gemma continues.
Gemma Koskinas today claims there are major flaws in their investigative procedure and there are many unanswered questions. Her explanations of the unwillingness to solve the bigger problem is embarrassing. The easy answer to their lack of concern may simply be money and the fact that they could not be bothered.
She also says:
”There is such stigma surrounding drugs and little regard for human life. It seems to me people in Sweden, and indeed all over the world, are not innocent until proven guilty, rather guilty even if proven innocent.”
”To me and also my Swedish father’s lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja it is unbelievable that a ’developed’ country such as Sweden is so in denial of this worldwide issue. My father is the trafficked item, and yet they cannot and will not accept this.”
Stylianos Koskinas got sentenced to 6 years after his district court hearing in May 2019.
”The result of Sweden’s inhumane detention procedures that kept my dad in solitary isolation for almost 10 whole weeks! During that time, he was unable to speak to us freely or able to see us properly. We were not allowed to know any details of what had happened to him.”
”What we as a family are experiencing, I would not wish upon anyone – this is a living nightmare, and I do not know when it will end.”
The case was appealed in June 2019 but the judge did not change the sentence and considered it a clear-cut case.
Henrik Olsson Lilja explained that they were too intent on rushing away for their summer holidays than to consider the case. The decision was made in just 2 days, rather than 2 weeks. Also the appeal to the supreme court was in vain. The verdict was not changed and there were no further investigations implemented.
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Henrik’s assistant Simon Kjellstrand recently announced:
”Unfortunately our assignment to help him has now ended, as the Superior Court decided to deny our appeal. Hence I am very sorry to inform that there are no possibilities left for us to help Stelios at this moment. It is very sad, but the system let him down this time, as I strongly believe in his innocence.”
The real criminals remain free
Gemma Koskinas establishes that the zero tolerance attitude breaches serious human rights as it fails to actually find the real criminals and only reprimands the ‘couriers’ whether they were unknowing or not. This is not solving any crime, she states.
Gemma says she has spoken to various affluent countries, especially Canada and the US and that they were very surprised by Sweden, especially when they acknowledge that this is a global issue yet it’s been completely dismissed.
Even though international drug smuggling scam warnings, published by Canada and US border agencies, were shown in court by Henrik Olsson Lilja the courts still decided to ignore the international criminals’ ventures. Sweden should take more responsibility she says.
”I greatly commend these countries for their foresight and their willingness to accept this is happening and in turn acknowledging their responsibility towards their citizens.”
Gemma Koskinas states that other countries like the UK and Sweden should follow the lead of the US and Canada to prevent these scams from destroying another innocent person and their family’s lives.
Stylianos Koskinas was in a way lucky. He might have been sentenced to death if he were to be apprehended in Dubai since he was transited through United Arab Emirates to get to Sweden.
The Swedish courts seem to be believe Stylianos Koskinas was a part of the scam which is absolutely nonsensical as nobody in their right mind would take such a risk had they knowingly been carrying drugs, Gemma explains.
Once Stylianos was in Dubai waiting for his connecting flight to Sweden he sent a message to his ‘business associate’ in South Africa who had taken him shopping a few hours before and subsequently re-handed him the bag of gifts when he picked him up from his hotel to take him to the airport. Gemma guesses the bagged may have been swapped with an exact one that had been planted with the drugs.
During his trip Stylianos questioned in a series of text messages what was in the bag, as he felt it was slightly heavier than before and he wanted to know in case it had to clear customs and he needed to declare something.
The business associate was annoyed about Stylianos’ questioning and fobbed him off with an answer that seemed to reassure his inquisition.
In fact, these messages have been taken out of context and used against him. Rather than proving and demonstrating his honesty and gullibility, Gemma says. She claims that the Swedish prosecutors have based their punishment upon supposition and circumstantial evidence that has been twisted and misconstrued just so their case could be won.
”It is an atrocity that the fate of their lives and futures depend on the jurisdiction/corruption of the countries they are so unfortunately stopped in.”
Gemma Koskinas says her father has not received a fair trial and he has been accused of a crime that it is obvious he did not know he was part of – he simply walked into a trap.
”The fact that they are going to convict an innocent man is a huge miscarriage of justice, with huge human rights implications and is simply a travesty.”
Gemma claims she will not stop fighting for the truth to be acknowledged and for the world to wake up to the dangers that we are all at risk of.
Gemma says something else that draws attention:
”Human trafficking is part of this”.
”Yes, there has always been elected drug mules, but they were recruited and used in a different way. With the rise of blind mules, we are all easy targets, especially if the real criminals continue to be able to get away with it, it will only increase and strengthen. Attitudes and legislation need to change fast!”
”I would prefer that a paper with an esteemed reputation and sympathetic stance were the ones to break my father’s story.”
Swedish newspapers turned down this story
But only one newspaper has so far published the story of Stylianos Koskinas; a newspaper in Greece. Papers in the UK are very interested in exposing this injustice, yet Gemma Koskinas wanted it to gain attention in Sweden first. Interestingly however the main Swedish newspapers she contacted have turned down the story.
This crime phenomenon is bigger than what people may think. Gemma Koskinas is in contact with human rights lawyers in New Zealand who work in transnational criminal cases such as this, and also a charity called MULE that was set up to support drug mule victims and their families. She has also found support from a victim of an online romance scam, who served two and a half years in an Argentinian prison for drug smuggling, after being set-up by her ’love interest’.
Stylianos Koskinas last chance to be free is now the European Court of Human Rights.
By Torbjorn Sassersson, editor NewsVoice
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