Europe

Hero or smuggler? Briton tried for bid to save migrant girl

Rob Lawrie with 4-year-old Bahar Ahmadi in his arms.

Rob Lawrie with 4-year-old Bahar Ahmadi in his arms.  (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

A British man is going on trial for his failed bid to spirit a 4-year-old Afghan girl from a squalid migrant camp in northern France to safety with family members in Britain.

Rob Lawrie, 49, faces criminal charges that carry a maximum prison term of five years and a 30,000-euro ($32,500) fine in Thursday's trial.

He is charged with aiding and abetting illegal immigration, in a case that epitomizes the clash between the heart and the law that has emerged with the migrant flux in Europe.

Lawrie was caught Oct. 24 on the French side of the English Channel with Bahar Ahmadi, after ceding to pleas from the girl's father to get her out of the Calais camp. Lawrie, a former soldier, has hundreds of supporters in Britain and France.