Thursday, July 25 2024

Nine men from Egypt arrested as suspected smugglers in deadly boat sinking in Greece

shipwreck migrants
Survivors from the deadly sinking of a fishing boat southwest of the Peloponnese AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
 
Nine men are arrested for migrant smuggling in connection with the sinking of a fishing boat southwest of the Peloponnese that killed at least 78 illegal immigrants.
 
The men, who are said to be from Egypt, appeared before a prosecutor in Kalamata and were charged with forming a criminal organization with the purpose of illegal migrant trafficking, causing a shipwreck and endangering life. They then requested time to prepare their testimony. 
 
Authorities believe the accused, aged 26, 21, 40, 36, 32, 26, 22, 29 and 20 years old, formed the ship’s crew and had distinct roles in transporting the rest.
 
“It was an organized trafficking effort that was being prepared for 40, possibly even 50 days,” a Coast Guard official told Kathimerini.
 
Eight of the suspects are currently detained at the Kalamata police station, while one is under guard at the local hospital.
 
The investigation into the circumstances and causes and for those responsible for the shipwreck are ongoing.
 
Survivors have reportedly said that close to 100 children were on board and that the vessel was carrying between 400 and 600 people. The numbers of confirmed survivors and dead remain unchanged: 104 and 78 respectively.
 
The nine men were given until Monday (June 19) to testify before an investigative magistrate.