The former British soldier at the centre of a refugee smuggling scandal has received a wave of online support, with calls for the French government to spare him a prison sentence.
Rob Lawrie is facing five years in prison and a fine of £21,400 for what he called a “crime of compassion”, attempting to smuggle four-year-old Afghan girl Bahar into Britain from Calais.
The campaign appealing to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is less than 500 signatures away from reaching its goal of 45,000, meanwhile the French petition is little over 11,000 signatures away from its target of 75,000.
Speaking to the BBC, Rob took full responsibility for his actions, saying:
You do not need to tell me I’m an idiot, I know I’m an idiot. I did the wrong thing, I’ve got no doubt and I’m going to apologise to the French court.
I’m not saying ‘Look at me, I’m a hero’ I’m saying ‘I did it the wrong way, lets try and find out the right way’.
He has also received support from Bahar, who according to The Independent said:
I want Mr Rob to be free. He is very good and kind.
Hopefully authorities will see sense. This was just a man trying to do his best for another human, it doesn’t warrant five years behind bars.