italy court jails migrant shipwreck captain for 18 years
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

Italy court jails migrant shipwreck captain for 18 years

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Italy court jails migrant shipwreck captain for 18 years

captain of the boat that overturned off the coasts of Libya
Catania , Italy - Arab Today

An Italian court ruled Tuesday that the captain of a migrant boat that sank in 2015, killing up to 900 people, was responsible for the Mediterranean’s worst disaster since World War II.
Judges in Catania ordered Mohammed Ali Malek, a Tunisian national, to serve 18 years for multiple manslaughter, human trafficking and causing the tragedy. Syrian Mahmoud Bikhit, accused of being his first mate, was handed a five-year sentence.
The boat was carrying people largely from The Gambia, Senegal and Mali, as well as Bangladesh, the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia. Only 28 survived.
Up to 900 people were packed into the 27-meter (90-foot) boat when it left Libya, according to forensic scientists who spent months examining body bags only to discover many contained the remains of more than one person.
Firefighters who recovered the mangled bodies from the rotting ship said they had been “packed in like on the trains for Auschwitz.”
The Sicilian court will hear from a survivor who lost relatives on the night of the April 18-19 wreck before the prosecution and defense give their closing arguments.
The vessel sank in pitch darkness after running into the Portuguese freighter King Jacob, which had raced to its rescue, the collision sending its passengers over to one side and causing the vessel to tip over.
The freighter’s captain, Abdullah Ambrousi, said he saw the migrant boat sailing erratically and cut the freighter’s engines to avoid a crash, but the smaller vessel speed up and rammed into the King Jacob.
Malek has claimed the real captain died in the wreck and he is being scapegoated by the other survivors because he is Tunisian.
Italy’s navy had the grisly task of raising the corpse-packed trawler from the seabed this year after the government promised to give the victims decent burials as a symbol of respect for all the migrants who have died trying to reach Europe’s shores. Only the salvage of the wreck cost ten million euros.
Italian firefighters’ spokesman Luca Cari said the decomposing migrant bodies were found everywhere, from the well of the anchor chain to the tiny underfloor compartment where the bilge pump sits, to the engine room.
It was clear from their positions that many had fought tooth and nail to get out when the boat rolled — a struggle which proved futile.
Fingerprints, DNA samples and distinguishing body marks were collected on file from the corpses in the hope the data may helping relatives seeking lost loved ones.
Over 12,000 people are known to have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the current migrant crisis erupted in 2013. Aid agencies say it is likely many more disappeared without trace after being abandoned on the high seas by traffickers.
The departures have not stopped despite the turn in the weather as winter sets in. A record number of 175,000 people have arrived on Italy’s shores this year, with another 678 brought to Catania on Monday, including a newborn baby.

Source: Arab News

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italy court jails migrant shipwreck captain for 18 years italy court jails migrant shipwreck captain for 18 years

 



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