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Eritrean priest denies Trapani charge of facilitating clandestine migration

An Eritrean human rights activist is being investigated by the public prosecutor in Trapani for allegedly illegally sending information about boats and landings to NGO rescue ships. Don Mossie Zerai, better known as a candidate for the

An Eritrean human rights activist is being investigated by the public prosecutor in Trapani for allegedly illegally sending information about boats and landings to NGO rescue ships.

Don Mossie Zerai, better known as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 than as a people smuggler, has been charged with facilitating clandestine immigration by the Trapani public prosecutor.

Zerai is the founder of Habeshia, described as “lifejacket for migrants,” a blog where he provides last-minute and life-saving information to his fellow countrymen trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Habeshia serves as a hotline and distress signal for many Eritreans and others stranded in open waters.

Zerai released the following statement asserting his innocence on his website.

“I can confirm with all conscience that I have nothing to hide and that I have always acted i full legality. Apart from the Trapani initiative…, I have not been called to any other venue to justify or in any way respond to my work in favor of refugees and migrants.”
Zerai, a priest, says he has sent sos signals to ships, but only through the right channels.  “I confirm that, in the context of this activity – which I have been working on for years with my collaborators – I have sent relief reports to UNHCR and NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders, Sea Watch, Moas and Watch the Med,” says Zerai.
“Every time I informed the Italian Coast Guard operational center and the Maltese command. However, I have never had direct contact with the Jugend Rettet ship involved in the Trapani Prosecution investigation, nor have I ever been part of the alleged “secret chat” of which some newspapers have alluded to: my communications have always been forwarded through a normal cell phone. All the reports are the result of requests for assistance that I have been directed not from boats leaving Libya, or at the time of sailing, but from offshore vessels off the coast of Africa, outside Libyan territorial waters.”
According to UNHCR data, nearly 5,000 Eritreans have arrived in Europe illegally via the Mediterranean in 2017. A total of more than 117,000 ‘sea arrivals’ have landed in Italy or Greece in 2017, according to the same data.
“My goal is to save lives,” Zerai is cited as saying in Il Fatto Quotidiano. The charge against Zerai is linked to an investigation opened by the Trapani prosecutor against German NGO Jugend Rettet, which is also accused of facilitating clandestine migration, through its Iuventa rescue ship.
According to German online news site, the Iuventa has rescued 14,000 migrants so far in the Mediterranean. The German daily reports that staff of the Iuventa could face three years in prison for twice having “overstepped legal boundaries” during rescue missions in 2016 and 2017.
Source: The Local

Review overview
  • Gezae August 17, 2017

    not only the so called ABA but knowingly or unknowingly Amanuel of Assenna itself is a member of these human traffickers

    • Sol August 17, 2017

      When you liberate your brain from worshipping the predator come here to speak as a human

  • Gezae August 17, 2017

    August 17, 2017

    not only the so called ABA but knowingly or unknowingly Amanuel of Assenna himself is a member of these human traffickers

    • amanuel August 17, 2017

      Useless to urself, to eritrea, useless to the world. Obviously verry verry unhappy that lives of innocent eritreans was saved. U will face justice for all crimes u have comitted. Simply bastard.

      • Gezae August 18, 2017

        How many innocent Eritreans did you save? you are one eyed person you only look ever thing one way and that is why you are most of the time emotional. Do you really also know how many innocent Eritreans drugged from their home land or neighboring countries because of your act/behave?

  • Debessay August 17, 2017

    All Eritrean people wether a priest or a sheikh are criminals and human traffickers.
    The almighty God just save and protect our unlucky youth and the rest of our people.

    • Debessay August 17, 2017

      Poor Eritrea full of mafia gangsters people exploiting poor innocents.

  • Gedamu August 17, 2017

    Wedi Halima rootless Saho saHab gimel aka Sol, andom, amanuel and so on garbage deceiving pen names, Wedi Halima, the last time you were attacking Amanuel of Assenna savagely in defense of your useless fat muslim brother Ahmed Sheriff of Australia. In a strange and weird u turn this time you ignorantly/arrogantly defending the weak weirdo Amanuel Eyassu. Stick to your own bastards taliban backward brothers. U too WILL face the hanging rope for all your crimes against our people. U WILL also be deported back to your stinking Yemen, Sudan or Afghanistan.

  • Alamz August 18, 2017

    It seems the great people of the EU and USA are coming to their sense. Enough to the smugglers and accomplice (I mean to those with intent and/or with the best intention.) Let the criminals and human traffickers face the full extent of the law. For those who help people in distress, let God have a mercy on them. But, what I fail to understand is that how is that this so called NGO fail to realize that they are encouraging a very dangers journey? For Eritrean, time for an orderly and legal migration is approaching fast. Then after, with less burden (hopefully) we can talk about in-house issues. Time to stop volunteer slavery (not chained.)


  • k.tewolde August 18, 2017

    ‘Bring me your poor,beaten down and tired,I will comfort and accommodate them’, this is what this noble Eritrean priest did, he is the lady liberty of the Mediterranean sea on the receiving end for those who were regurgitated from the belly of the beast.It is a well orchestrated mafiosi lynching,the Lord will exonerate him.

  • Danilo August 18, 2017

    In the first hand, who forced this victims of desert and sea. then humiliated and used as spare part for longevity of others, used sex servitù, more than that the case is becoming ultra sentiment of politics and a cover of crime. Don Musie has nothing to do with this.unless the cartel of mafia and I ndrangheta paid by eri blood.

  • FM August 18, 2017

    This is another twist of character assassination scheme unleashed by the PFDJ functionaries. I have read the venom being spewed in TesfaNews about this alleged involvement of the poor priest. The same people who had nothing to say when Eritrean youth drowned in the sea, mutilated in Sinai or their heads chopped in Libya. The news of the investigating of Abba Mussie made it to the upper echelon of the blood thirsty PFDJ, sniffing blood like hound dogs; forgetting in the country where the investigation is taking place once is innocent until proven guilt. However, the PFDJ functionaries are shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him, crucify him.” As a priest his life meant for sacrifice and self-emptying for others. Personally, I have no doubt Abba Mussie will be vindicated at the end of the day and he will continue to pique our conscience with the Eritrean Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter, “WHERE IS YOUR BROTHER!”

  • WOLDU August 19, 2017

    Let us wait for the result from a proper court of law. Until then, I believe Mossie Zerai is a patriotic Eritrean.and a man who is true to his faith. Remember PFDJ’s domestic and foreign supporters are maliciously attacking Eritreans who are trying to help their fellow citizens. For example, Elsa Churum, Musie Zerai…etc. This attack is coming from different organizations and individuals,, but .if you hear and read what they,say, they follow PFDJ method of deception and lies.