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Six migrant smugglers sentenced to jail in Italy first

Six human traffickers have been sentenced by a Palermo court in connection with a migrant boat wreck off Lampedusa in October 2013, in which more than 300 people died. In the first ruling of its kind

Six human traffickers have been sentenced by a Palermo court in connection with a migrant boat wreck off Lampedusa in October 2013, in which more than 300 people died.

In the first ruling of its kind in Italy, the six Eritreans were given prison terms ranging from two years and four months to six years and three months, Il Tempo reported.

The ruling was made in a fast-track trial, meaning it can not be appealed.

The trial stemmed from an investigation, called ‘Glauco 1’, which was launched after the boat tragedy.

The heaviest sentence was handed down to 27-year-old Samuel Weldemicael, who was given six years and four months, followed by 25-year-old Mohammed Salih, who got six years.

The court also sentenced 31-year-old Nuredin Atta Wehabrebi to five years; Tesfahiweit Woldu, 26, to four years; Yared Afwerke, 25, to two years and eight months, and Atywos Melles, 48, to two years and four months.

The six were convicted of racketeering and abetting illegal immigration. Three other defendants, believed to have been the leaders of the human trafficking ring, are still at large.

The overcrowded boat is thought to have capsized after one of the smugglers lit a fire on board to alert the Italian coast guard to their whereabouts, sparking panic among the hundreds of passengers.

Italy vowed to crack down on human traffickers in the wake of the tragedy, with investigators building their case around survivor testimonies and 30,000 wiretaps, which included conversations among the smugglers about the deaths of their passengers.

In one intercepted conversation, they blamed the migrants for the tragedy, “because they wanted to leave in great numbers”.

The Local

Review overview
  • Natnael February 15, 2016

    SHAME for the fascist ITALIA !

    These Six human traffickers have got such cosmetic sentences that stand in no relationship with the crimes they commited with their presumably Italian / Western bosses continuesly. The Italian government should stop politicizing the cruel and inhuman deeds of the poor Eritrean trffickers. The former fascist colonizer has to recognize that the show takes place no where but only on the Italian ground / waters.

    How the hell can their investigations end up with such a ridiculous result. They must admit that the whole conspiracy has its roots in their own houses. Only the LOGIC and sowith the TRUTH are sufering/crying ! Their comrade DIA is also never concerned about the dear lost nationals as if notghing has happened to our unlucky youth.

    • Zeray February 15, 2016

      Natnael- I have a different take on this. The Italian court knows the core cause of all these atrocities is the dictator of Eritrea. These are the aftermath of life journeys that is a struggle for survival.

  • Hag February 15, 2016

    Dear natnael.
    I agree it was cosmetic sentence.but what do you mean by poor traficants? You expresed them olso as ex-colonizers .they were better than ethiopians or mainly british.ኣወል ክስተ በረካ ክልዓልየ ጥልያን ደሓን ወዓልየ ኣቦ-ድኻየ ከምዘይተባህለ ዘይስሞም ሂብካዮም በሃላይ ኢየ።

  • Berhe Tensea February 15, 2016

    What about the people that are the root cause mas migration from Eritrea, when are they going to be put behind bars?
    The dictatorial regime’s generals are a well known human traffickers, and the Eritrea people must work hard so that these mafia group is put out of service as soon as possible.

  • Michael asghedom February 16, 2016

    The captain,may did wrong for stopping while he had left a mile to the coast but the biggest un humanitarian mistake is done by the coast guard of the Italian goverment and for that reason the government of Italy have to pay for the victims family minimum $200,000 each.

  • Michael asghedom February 16, 2016

    On the above comment there Was some thing I forgot and that was: – when the immigrants boat stop on the water the Italian cost guards had to go around the immigrants boat three times so at that they know there was some thing wrong with the boat at that time they could come closer and ask them what the problem was and they could help them or they could make phone call and ask their superiors what but instead they were waiting,the boat to fill with water sink and kill all the people who where on the boat.very un humanitarian and cruel people and they have to pay for it.

    • Gebru February 17, 2016

      Dear Mr A

      You have it all wrong it is not the coast guard who have seen the boat and sailed around to see what happens this were private fishing boats who were out for fishing. This fishing boats were not allowed to pick and boat at sea by law they can only notify the Italian coast guard and that is what they have done later when the boat capsized they joined the rescue and have done their share and saved a lot of Eritrean soul which they should be praised.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! February 18, 2016

    Nowadays many young age Eritreans gave up hope to see them in desperation for better future . In this kind scenario had been
    part of life to see middle men involved from initial route that
    began inside the country to Sudan , Ethiopia and beyond . The only
    difference from our past is the life threatening journey they took
    to reach their desired destination .
    But the critical question we should ask ourselves is ;
    Is it worthy to let such things to happen under our nose after highly
    paid sacrifice to bring freedom for these generation ?