An operation conducted by Italian police against Nigerian organized crime | Photo: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO
An operation conducted by Italian police against Nigerian organized crime | Photo: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO

A court in the Sicilian city of Agrigento sentenced two Nigerian citizens to 26 years in jail each on charges of human trafficking, abduction and sexual violence. The two men were accused of torturing migrants in Libya.

On Saturday, November 16, a tribunal in the Sicilian city of Agrigento sentenced two Nigerian nationals to a 26-year jail term each for criminal association aimed at human trafficking, abduction and sexual violence. 


A third defendant, who is also a Nigerian citizen, was acquitted. The prosecutors had presented as an aggravating factor in the case, among others, the fact that defendants acted with cruelty. 

Witnesses accused defendants of torture 

The defendants, Godwin Nnodum and Goodness Uzor, admitted during questioning by a judge for preliminary investigations (GIP) that they were in a Libyan detention house where migrants were forced to stay before travelling to Italy and where they were often tortured and abused. They denied ever abusing the migrants. 

However, witnesses questioned by magistrates, including the brother of a migrant who died on November 1, 2016 after three days of agony, accused the defendants. He accused one of the defendants of hitting his brother while a Libyan trafficker pinned him to the ground. The man said he was allowed to bury his brother after "pleading" with traffickers for days. 

"I recognized the young African who killed my brother at the detention center'', the witness told magistrates after landing on Lampedusa. 

People tortured to death 

Another witness said that one of the defendants doused him with gasoline and then set him on fire. Five other people were punched to death, witnesses told investigators. They said that migrants were kept against their will by armed men inside a former military base in Sabratha, called the ''white house." They were allowed to leave Libya for Sicily only after the payment of a ransom, witnesses told magistrates.
 

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