The boat with 538 migrants on board intercepted by port autority's cutters off Lampedusa on August 28, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/CONCETTA RIZZO
The boat with 538 migrants on board intercepted by port autority's cutters off Lampedusa on August 28, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/CONCETTA RIZZO

A reported 161 migrants were arrested in August by Sicily's Agrigento flying squad police on unlawful reentry charges, the local chief prosecutor said. The migrants had either been previously expelled or were reportedly not allowed to stay in Italy.

A reported 161 migrants were arrested in August by Sicily's Agrigento flying squad police on unlawful reentry charges, the chief prosecutor of Agrigento, Luigi Patroneggio, said on Saturday, September 4.

The migrants had either been previously expelled or were not allowed to reside in Italy, said the chief prosecutor.

Meanwhile, as numerous landings were continuing in Lampedusa, the prosecutor coordinated the investigative activity of flying squad police and finance police, with their land and sea units.

The "very high number of arrests put to the test judicial structures" during the summer holiday, Patronaggio commented.

Investigation on landing of 538 migrants in Lampedusa on August 28

Meanwhile an investigation is ongoing on the landing on August 28 in Lampedusa of 538 migrants coming from Libya. The probe was opened on the same day of the landing by prosecutors in Agrigento. But it was not the classic case on aiding and abetting illegal immigration charges which is opened after every landing to identify possible smugglers, investigative sources said.

According to investigators, in fact, a criminal organization allegedly organized the trip. The sources said only a criminal group could put such a large number of people on one boat. The organization is believed to have first held in a detention center the Egyptian, Syrian, Maghrebi and sub Saharan migrants who were intercepted off Lampedusa.

Many of the exhausted migrants on the overcrowded boat bore the signs of violence and cruelty endured during the period of detention before their journey to Italy, according to the medical team of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Lampedusa.

The healthcare workers worked in cooperation with local authorities to identify frail migrants in order to guarantee adequate treatment.

Part of the investigation dedicated to discovering the criminal organization that organized the journey is now being handled by DDA anti-mafia investigators in Palermo, Sicily.

Palermo prosecutor Marzia Savella, who heads the department dealing with human trafficking cases, is in charge of this portion of the probe.

 

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