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Italian fined for transporting migrants on carpooling journey

Demonstrators in Paris welcome participants in a migrants' solidarity march across France in June Thomas SAMSON / AFP

An Italian living in France has been given a suspended sentence for people-smuggling because he transported two undocumented migrants he had contacted through carpooling site BlaBlaCar

The young man, known as Andrea in French and Italian media, was given a suspended sentence of nine months and a suspended fine of 24,000 euros by a judge in the north Italian town of Aosta after frontier police found his passengers were migrants from Côte d'Ivoire and Morocco.

Neither had residency permits, although the Moroccan had applied for political asylum.

Andrea, 26, and his French girlfriend, Charlène, 28, contacted the pair through BlaBlaCar, having advertised for passengers to share the costs of a journey from the Paris region to Rome.

On arrival at the Italian frontier police checked their identity and found that the passengers did not have the necessary papers.

Andrea was arrested, his car was confiscated and he appeared before a judge the next day.

The two foreigners were deported, according to Italy's La Stampa newspaper.

BlaBlaCar told French media that this was "an extremely isolated case" and the first time there had been situation "on this scale" in Italy.

Similar cases had occurred in Germany and Hungary but the fines were much lower, spokesman, Robert Morel, told the AFP news agency.

Its internet site tells drivers they have the right to check their passengers have the necessary papers before crossing borders.