Tags: migrant | boat | captain | manslaughter

Migrant Boat Captain Held, Charged With Manslaughter

Image: Migrant Boat Captain Held, Charged With Manslaughter
Mahmud Bikhit, left and Mohammed Ali Malek,right, two survivors of Saturday's migrant boat disaster, arrested on suspicion of people trafficking, in these handout pictures taken and released by Italian Police in Catania on April 21, 2015. (Reuters/Landov)  

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 07:02 AM

The Tunisian captain of a migrant-smuggling boat has been charged with manslaughter in Italy after an estimated 900 people were killed when his ship capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

The captain was detained along with a crew member from Syria, according to London's Daily Mail. The arrests were made after the captain and other survivors were questioned by Italian authorities.

National Public Radio identified the captain as Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, and his crew member as Mahmud Bikhit, 25. The Italian news agency ANSA reported that the two were among the 28 rescued by Italian authorities.

"The survivors said that the trafficker who was at the command of the boat piloted it carelessly in the final moments as he was trying to hide and not be recognized as a smuggler," a source told ANSA.

The deaths underscored the desperation of refugees in Africa and the Middle East which has reached the crisis stage. Many have attempted to reach Europe on ill-equipped vessels from the Libyan coast, according to The New York Times.

The Times reported that European leaders met in Luxembourg trying to figure out how to respond to the mass exodus while balancing humanitarian responsibilities against budget constraints and widespread public sentiment against immigration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged other European partners to increase their efforts to save migrants at sea, according to The Mirror.

"We owe it to ourselves to do more," Merkel told non-governmental organizations in Berlin, adding that Libya's weak government made it difficult to hunt down the human traffickers who are in part driving the departures.

"We will do everything to prevent further victims from perishing in the most agonizing way on our doorstep in the Mediterranean," said Merkel.

The migrant death toll in the Mediterranean is believed to have passed 1,500 with more than 11,000 people being rescued during the first 17 days of April, according to The Times. The  migrants mostly come from Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Asia; Syria and Iraq in the Middle East; and Gambia, Somalia, Mali and Eritrea in Africa.

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The Tunisian captain of a migrant-smuggling boat has been charged with manslaughter in Italy after an estimated 900 people were killed when his ship capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
migrant, boat, captain, manslaughter
366
2015-02-22
Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 07:02 AM
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